Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching

Dr. Americus Reed II - Identity, Branding, Marketing and More! (Episode #169)

May 31, 2021 Dr. Americus Reed II Season 3 Episode 22
Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching
Dr. Americus Reed II - Identity, Branding, Marketing and More! (Episode #169)
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Americus Reed II, the Hip Hop Prof. He’s the Whitney M. Young Jr., Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he has served on faculty since 2000. He is the go-to expert when it comes to the intricacies of marketing, branding, and identity.  In this interview, he shares how social identity, social influence, values, attitudes and judgments interact in shaping purchase decisions and consumer behavior, but from a social psychology point of view.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. What if you could tap into the wisdom and insights from one of the nation's go-to experts on the subject of marketing, branding identity and other related concepts, or guess what today you get to do exactly that. I'm your host, Dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute and our guest today is Dr. America's read the second, the hip hop prof from Wharton university. He's a professor of marketing where he's been serving at Wharton on the faculty since 2000. Not only is this guy brilliant. He's also a lot of fun as you'll see now, before we jump in to quick highlights, for those of you who are considering pursuing the MBA , HWC approved health and wellness coaching certification, your next opportunity is coming up in mid August. The last one filled early. So if that's a priority, do not wait. It sets you up nicely for the MBAs GBC timeline. For those who are already coaches don't want to miss the event of the year, the Rocky mountain coaching retreat and symposium in beautiful Estes park, Colorado. That takes place in mid September details. Both of these are [email protected]sultsatcatalystcoachinginstitute.com . We're happy to set up a time to chat. Now it's time for Wharton's hip-hop prof. Dr. America's read the second on the latest episode of the catalyst health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast, or welcome to the show professor. America's read really appreciate you joining us. It's great to have you here.

Speaker 2:

I'm excited to be here, bread , uh, very, very happy to join you and have a great conversation. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

We find a lot of good stuff that I think we haven't covered a lot of before now, when I first looked at your background, it felt like you always knew that you wanted to be here now. I mean, I've got it written down here. You've got undergrad and double master's degree in basically organizational behavior. Uh, your second master , your market research, then PhD in marketing, consumer, and social psychology, like it C and they were backed back to back to back . So it seemed like you had this destination in mind at age 18, practically. Is that at all true or did you just kind of , as you went, you're like, Hey, I love this stuff.

Speaker 2:

You know what? It was a journey bread because I did work enough in between both of those masters degrees to learn that I did not want to be in a small company with absolutely no , uh , structure , uh , in a chaotic environment. And I didn't want to be in a big company that has a lot of bureaucracy and problematic issues associated with that. And I think what that taught me Brad, is that I don't really want to have a boss. And so,

Speaker 1:

And so you went into academia, wait a minute.

Speaker 2:

Here's the thing, here's the thing that people don't understand. Bread academia is the perfect mix between entrepreneurial elements, but also a safety net of structure. So if you can get that thing called tenure, you've got an institutional, a safety net, the background in , in , in sort of helping you, but you also get the full, maximum degrees of freedom to pursue all of the things that you're interested in studying, and somebody pays you to do it. So I consider myself an entrepreneur of ideas that happens to have the structure and the backing of an institution behind him .

Speaker 1:

You just recruited for PhDs all over the world, my friend, where to go, all right , little lighter note, you got to fill us in on the hip-hop prof thing. You talk a lot about stories and the branding and , and how stories form our identity. And some of your other interviews had that come to be

Speaker 2:

About profits . The persona that I created, Brad, because of what I understood is that one of the best ways, and this comes from my background as an educator, one of the best ways to get people to absorb that content you want to try to present to them is to create engagement and engagement in terms of a connection between a perceiver and a receiver of information has to do with what I refer to as wait for it, edutainment, oh, there we go. There you go. So I created the hip-hop prof to sort of be this persona of this marketing professor who was kind of cool into pop culture, into music and art and , and all, all things brand and pop culture. But every now and then my , you know, break into a rap or a , you know, do some zoo stuff. They get interesting that was outside of the stereotypical , uh , perception of what a professor

Speaker 1:

You've just raised the expectation for the rest of this interview. My friend, I love it. I love it. Um, I won't ask for the wrap off top of your head there.

Speaker 2:

You want me to spell your lyrics right now, right now?

Speaker 1:

Exactly . Yeah . All right . So you , you know what, any website, a key area of focus for you, and I put it in quotes here, the idea that a person's sense of who they are, it relates to who, what they think feel and do now. That makes sense superficially, when you, when people hear that, they're like, yeah, sure. But you go a lot deeper. What , what have you discovered in terms of that, that most folks listening might go, wait, what?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's a great question, Brad, and thanks for queuing that up. I think for me, I challenge your listeners to think about a behavior that they engage in that somehow does not have implications for how someone is going to see themselves , uh, either as an external audience or an audience to yourself. And so almost everything we do has some kind of connection to expressing something about who we are. The question becomes, are we going to be aware of that? And are we going to sort of try to strategically affect what people perceive, who we are in terms of building our brand? So my argument, Brad has always been not whether or not you're a brand, everybody's a brand period. And every time you open your mouth to the marketplace to say anything, you're creating an impression about what it is that you stand for and who you are. And so it's not a question of, are you a brand, it's a question of, will you strategically manage your own brand and use it as a way to help create connection and relationships and loyalty and affiliation with other people so that you can connect and give them information and receive information and be persuasive in that sort of context.

Speaker 1:

So a lot of my PhD work was in self-talk. So it almost sounds like you're talking about whatever you put in here first, you then decide what to portray on the outside, in any advice for folks that are saying, man, professor, I don't even know where to start with the internal piece, let alone what I'm portraying to the world.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think that this is the, this is the $6 million question. And so every single person should sit down and try to write out on a piece of paper, the articulation of why do I want to do this? And in the case of becoming a motivational coach or personal growth specialist, think about what, why do I do this? What is it that I want to do? And it can't be something that strapped the , I want to help people, right? Everybody wants to do that. And that doesn't differentiate you to think through what is it that gives me joy and excitement about sitting down and interacting and changing lives. Why do I care about it? What is my why? And I think as you develop that sort of articulation of an internal dialogue with yourself , uh , that inner voice you start listening to, then it creates a template to try to understand what are the building blocks. I think that associate my particular perceived set of values that I would potentially like to take to the rest of the world. And I think that's an important exercise to try to get that internal articulation in first, before you even start considering like how I'm going to take this to a marketplace and differentiate myself, because you got to remember for a personal coach, I'm a growth specialist, personal growth specialist, life coach. You're not the only person trying to do this. So, so there are a lot of people that are going to be appealing to individuals who need this kind of help. Your goal is to understand why am I different? What is my identity and a brand as a wellness expert. And , and what's my, what's my why. And what's their reason as a group that would follow me and what to learn from me, what's their reason to why they should. And that's all about building a kind of personal brand that connects with a particular segment, hopefully large enough to build that, following that you need to be successful.

Speaker 1:

And if the person is, they hear that and they say, okay, yeah, I definitely need to do that. I don't know why I'm unique. I , and in fact, I've always just kind of said, I just want to help people. And you're right. That's so generic. That's not helpful at all in any other guidance on kind of the pre-step to that big step.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think what I try to do, and I try to get my students who I teach at university to think about this. I try to get them to do the thought exercise, imagine yourself having the most perfect day possible. What would that day look like? What would you be doing? And like construct that day in detail so that, okay, I get up. Here's what I do. I get my coffee. I go for a walk I , everything that you do in that day, that's that perfect day. And then you basically diagnose what is it that are those elements of joy that I'm extracting from that? And why am I extracting that? And you take that information and then you build a story . You write a story about who you are that is this diagnosed narrative that's associated with my ideal version of myself, as it would enact in a perfect day. And then you try to understand what makes that such a positive apex of your own potential and create that articulation of this is the reason why I care about these things. And this is who I am. I'm going to be a little bit controversial here. I think if you come to the table and you say, I really don't know, I just want to help people. You're going to be at a disadvantage to someone who has articulated and created a certain connection or a brand that can specifically resonate to a niche of potential audience members for specific reasons that they have developed through this articulation process.

Speaker 1:

Uh , it sounds like that's a great exercise for these health and wellness coaches that are listening to use with their clients too, because once you set that target, once you say, this is my, my perfect day, okay. Obviously I'm not there. I'm 42% there. Now we can figure out what's the, I love that. That is outstanding.

Speaker 2:

I think it also definitely works on the client side as well, Brad, because I think that my , uh , my own personal belief, and I'm not a wellness personal growth guru, but my own personal belief is that once you put the thoughts in your mind, the thoughts, whatever thoughts are in your mind, they're going to want to manifest into the real world. And so our job is to sort of curate those thoughts in a way that's advantageous to us, but also help our clients. I mean, I don't have any clients because I'm not a guru of this, but help those individuals in need control that kind of cognition so that they can breathe into reality. The things that, the thoughts that they are regulating in their minds, that they can potentially work on. So like getting the negative stuff out , uh, as quickly as possible, not focusing on external factors that you have no control over, but focusing on how do I react to those factors that I don't control because it's my choice to create an attitude or reaction to something that happens to me and I can choose to make that a positive reaction. So it's that kind of thing that, that I think develops kind of as a brand, as a brand building exercise, as you're thinking about articulating these kinds of concepts and using yourself as a , as a wellness expert or a personal growth specialist expert , uh , that, that works not only for you, but also potentially for your clients.

Speaker 1:

This is fantastic. All right. Another area of emphasis for you. And again, quoting you directly how social identities interact. And we're going to dig into this one big time, how social identities interact to influence memory, judgements , attitudes, psychosocial , or psychophysiological, reactions, behaviors, psychological functioning, and adaptation. Okay. Lot of layers here, let , let's go into a couple of, let's start with memory. How does this, how does this influence memory?

Speaker 2:

I maybe the better question Brad is how does memory influence who I am? If you think about it, there's a great movie. Um, uh , so I , I pose this in, in , in my classes to my students to say, what would it be like if you couldn't form short-term memories? And there's a movie called memento where the lead character cannot form these short-term memories. So he basically tattoos messages on his body so that he can remember things. And if you think about it, like your memory is that's your identity. And so memory and identity are interrelated because the auto-biographical conceptions that you have of yourself inform who you are. And , and also how well you're doing in that particular role or enacting that particular identity. And so as you take on new identities, it's those memories that inform this sense of, okay, how well am I doing in this role as personal coach or father or athlete or musician or whatever. And so memory is, is like a basic set of building blocks that you, that you accumulate, you know, cognitively that then help allow you to assess where am I trying to get to in my future self relative to this past self that I've been in, that's all based on your memory. So it's all interrelated, it's all intricately linked and it's all, it all affects each other. And kind of a , almost a , um , a bi-directional kind of way.

Speaker 1:

And yet we know our memories are so inaccurate. So is there any tweaking I can see from your expression on your face, those folks that are listening to this, he's got this big smile on his face or their guidance points or, or some nudging that we can do to say let's interpret these memories correctly or accurately or effectively.

Speaker 2:

Yes. I love this point because memory, one of the big things about memory is memory exists to help us function in the world. So, you know, what we want, what we're trying to do with memory is to make sure that we're not reconstructing it in a way that fits something that is, we want to believe that may or may not. That may not be true. And so one of the things I do is I document, I mean, I kind of , it's a little bit inspirational from this movie where it's like this , the individual and the characters tattooing stuff on his body permanently. So we can go back and look and say, I know with certainty, this is what happened, but I do something similar. I write things down. And when you write type

Speaker 1:

Thing or different strategy, different

Speaker 2:

Like , like, you know , I keep a journal. And so I'm, I'm, I'm writing down events of things that happened in my life that I think are important with respect to self-awareness and learnings that I have about who I am and the things that I do that bring me joy and that don't bring me joy. And so that, that record, it actually creates a record to where now that when I go back and look at it, I'm not pulling this from neurons that are inside my head. I'm actually looking at a physical document. So it's less likely that I'm going to somehow create some revisionist history. And that's kind of what history is all about. It's like you write it down so that when you come back to it, the words haven't changed, maybe the interpretation could change, but at least the building blocks are still there in terms of what's real.

Speaker 1:

There's a couple of things that I love there . So one, I think we rarely, even people that take the time to journal rarely go back to read it. And I love the value you're giving to that, going back and seeing what are the patterns, what am I doing over and over? Where , where, where do I get joy? But you also mentioned rainy on things that don't bring me joy. That is fascinating. What dig us in that a little bit more.

Speaker 2:

I think, I think a lot of times Brad, that there's the issue of we get stuck and we get stuck sometimes in like norms where we're doing things. Sometimes we're not thinking about them and we're not asking the deeper questions of is this feeding my soul. Yes . And I think the older that we get, we start to get a sense of , uh, reducing those things that don't feed our soul to a smaller number of things. I think when you're younger, you don't really have the awareness of, of that. And you don't really understand the power of , of trying to deploy your energy and your resources only towards those things that bring you deep senses of , of satisfaction or peace or joy. And for me, I'm, I'm writing it all down so that I can make a note of it. And so that I can, the next time, hopefully over some time span, I'm noticing the same things are not popping up again. And I'm being very purposeful about taking those things off the list. And I'm not allowing myself to be in situations that would create that sort of thing that I wrote down about in terms of something that may not be feeding my soul or, or contributing to mine, to my joy or happiness or peace. And so I think, you know , it , it takes it , the , the, the, the trick is, is we know we don't have the time machine. And unfortunately, you know, 50 year old Americas knows this now. Uh, and it's kinda like, you know, how unsettling is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise . But if I could only go back to my 20 year old self when I was 30, and if I could only go back to my 30 year old self, when I was 40, I would be passing along all of this stuff. So the idea is like, how can I get to my 70 year old self when I'm 50? And that's kind of what I'm looking for, the hacks to be able to create almost like time travel so that I can only create a world that is full of positive energy full of things that feed my soul full of, of controlling my environment in a way that the things that are important to me and knowing who I am. So a big part of that is understanding that sense of identity, that question of who am I order my values and living your life in accordance with those values.

Speaker 1:

Well, you're definitely bringing us the positive energy brother. This is awesome. I'm loving this. I Know you got to go in here. So the process, and there's not a right answer to this the way you do, it's not going to apply to everyone else, but is it a weekly review, a quarterly review, an annual, when you go back, how do you process that in the midst of, I mean, you've got as busy schedules, anyone out there that's listening. So what do you do as an incredibly busy person to make that a regular habit?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I'd love that. It's , it's all about creating habits and I love the point that you make there. So I try to do this at least once a week. Don't really, but I try to do it in the context as part of my, the moment where I'm trying to step back from all of the pressures of the world and life. And I'm trying to like recenter my kind of spiritual energy. And it's at that moment that I want to like check back and sort of see what has happened this week, because it's important then to be in that mind space to, to, to have that kind of clarity as you're evaluating the information, as I try to do that once a week, but as part of a kind of almost meditation kind of exercise, if you will , uh, in that, I'm trying to create a kind of Zen moment where I can look at this information. It's almost step away from get outside of my body and my experience and analyze it almost as an objective, a spiritual entity that is looking down and sort of assessing all of these things. So , uh , once a week is the short answer, but, you know, trying to do it in a very, in the right mindset. So you don't want to be like in the middle of the stressor of the day, you want to be in that mindset where you're creating the habit, that it's part of your reset process for that following week. And that, and that debrief, that internal dialogue that you're going to have with yourself in that moment of, of, of searching for spirituality and peace. So that's how I do it.

Speaker 1:

And just circling back to how we started this, this is all creating that identity or, or tuning into the identity, maybe recreating it based on what we're noticing, and then being able to present that to the world as part of this branding concept.

Speaker 2:

That's exactly right. I love one phrase. You just use it . I love, absolutely love tuning into that's huge because it's, it's like a signal it's all in there, right . But the question is, can I turn it to the right channel so I can pick up on it? Right . And , and that's exactly what I'm trying to do here is I'm trying to tune into that identity. The journaling helps me understand and optimize and tweak that internal process of who I am. And then it's an ongoing journey though. It's , it's not like it's ever over. Sure . And that's what I want listeners to understand. It's an ongoing process and new identities come on, board and old identities leave. And you're constantly managing this, this tuning in process and optimization through your journaling that allows you to, to create this clarity around who you are at any particular point in time in your life.

Speaker 1:

One more question in journaling and we'll move on. But so you've been doing this for a long time. I I've got generals from thankfully high school and college. Do you go back 10 years, 15 years talking about, can I talk to the seven year old Americas and get him ready now at age 50, do you do the reverse where you go back to 30, 35 40 and review those? And is that kind of a , more of an annual process? Or again, I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but what are you doing?

Speaker 2:

Okay . Yeah. That's more, that's more of a , uh , less frequent kind of thing, because it's almost like, you know, in some senses, I mean, it's important to have a sense of contrasting your trajectory of growth, which is important to looking where w where was I, 2030 , you know, when I was 20, 30, 40, and up to now. So that's important, but it's almost also, it's kinda like this idea of, it's kind of like last week's weather in some sense . It's like, do I really need this now? Yeah . I needed to contrast how great, how sunny it is today, which is awesome. And I'm happy about that, but it's kind of in the past. So it helps me create a context for understanding who I am in the present and where I need to go in the future. But in and of itself, I don't need to spend a lot of time, like going back into those, into those earlier archives, if you will, although it's sometimes just entertaining to , to, to note the personal growth and to understand, wow, I really, I really thought like an idiot when I was 20. I , and I clearly wrote down my idiotic thoughts.

Speaker 1:

My problem is I just keep saying too , like you haven't changed in 40 years, let's say, all right , well, let's , let's dig into the marketing branding identity stuff that we originally wanted to tie in here, especially for small business owners or those who might be independent health and wellness coaches. What advice would you give that goes beyond the status quo? You know , we had Tom beaters , we had , uh, Bob Bergen . W what, what can you do to take us past the stuff that they've read in the , the headlines and that kind of thing?

Speaker 2:

I think for me, I think that one of the things, if you look at success stories, and this is for entrepreneurs, people who are trying to start and run a business and create growth and success, one of the things that often gets missed is paying attention to the brand building exercise, because some people make the mistake, Brad, of thinking that their work is finished. Once they have created a logo from a design company, or here are some colors that are aesthetically pleasing on my website, or here is a tagline for my , uh, personal growth , uh, initiative that I'm working on. Okay, I've done my branding. That's not at all what branding is. So what would they need to understand is that branding is an exercise of creating meaning around what it is that you do and creating a meaning system so that when people see that logo, they immediately have a set of thoughts and associations that connect them to what it is that you would like to offer them as a product service or brand. And it's a subtle kind of thing, but the smart companies are obsessively focused on creating that meaning system. Right? So for example, if I do this exercise in my class where I put the switch on the screen, and I asked students like , what , what , what jumps to mind when I do this? And sometimes I don't even say it. I just, I just do this. And then everyone in the room says, just do it , uh, you know , uh, Nike , uh, you know, celebrate life through sport. And it's like, those thoughts that are in your head are not in there randomly, right ? Those thoughts are in your head because someone sat down and said, I need you to have these set of thoughts whenever you're exposed to what I'm doing. And that's the brand building process, which is creating meaning. So the point being that is, if you build , if you're starting a company on day zero, you need to be thinking about what is this? What, what is this brand identity that I'd like to create and why is it different? And let me create it in parallel while I'm also trying to acquire customers to be interested in my product or service. And I think that's often missed by a lot of entrepreneurs because there's always sort of a, there's a desire to sort of get traction very quickly and then figure out later on. Okay, well, what's the brand. And I think that's a mistake. I think you want to have the brand in toe first, and as you're building the plane , I mean, that's the argument that the entrepreneurs use, you know, fly the plane as you're building it and all that. Right. But the point being that it's the brand that they don't realize that the brand is an asset. They don't realize that it's not just some logos , it's an asset, it's an asset that connects to a segment. And that segment, if you do it right, can become fiercely loyal to what you're doing, such that if some other competitor comes in and says, Hey, please switch to us. They're not going to do it. And the reason they're not gonna do it is because they have an identity that is fused with your brand's identity in such a way that those two things now are , are connected. And so the smart brands are the brands that have that strategic, proactive, meaning system creation, urgency at every single step of the building of the company and the processes associated with it. And I think I can't make that point strongly enough. You have to be, you should not think about branding as some fluffy, you know, easy to do exercise and you're finished just because you have some kind of a logo or a tagline or a cool website. It's not that it's building that why and articulating it to consumers and giving them a reason to self express, who they are through what you're doing. And so there's a lot of power in that.

Speaker 1:

So you've given us two examples. You gave us Nike at the one end, and then the hip hop prof that we joked about at the beginning.

Speaker 2:

Yeah , yeah ,

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah, totally. So what about for the person who says, yeah, but America has like this unbelievable background and like the guys at Wharton and , and then Nike, on the other end, they've got billions of dollars. What is that person? That's J you mentioned you , you just got your colors, you got, you know, you went to whatever website and had a little thing put together now, what do they do? And I know part of that answer is what you talked about. Know , what's inside, know that story you want to share. Who are you? What differentiates you? Any other tips that we can pull in at this point to help them get, get rolling?

Speaker 2:

Oh , I love that. I mean, it's a great question. I think the critical thing at that point is to have an understanding, first of all, my belief is everyone has a gift, you know, and you have to, you have to unlock what that gift is. And once you, once you find that gift, that's the gift you're going to take to the world and, and give to the world. And I think everyone has one. So for me, it's going to be different from what Brad has and what others have, but you have to work towards finding that gift. And that's part of the joy thing, because the , the gifts that you have, I think are connected to , to that experience of joy. So if you can understand that, then you can get a better understanding of what are these gifts I would like to potentially give to the world. That's point number one, and then point number two is the first let's say, I'm going to make this number up, but the first 100 people or 500 people that you bring on board is going to be critical because you want to bring on board people who share that vision with you, of your why, and that vision of your gift. And you're going to want to re almost recruit them to sort of become part of your community of soldiers. That is part of the tribe. That's the word I like to use it , try the tribe of loyal folks, who, who are with you to learn from you to receive this gift, and then maybe take that, get this gift of yours and , and understand their gift better and take it to other people. And all , it's kind of like a snowball effect. It's really, really interesting, but it's the first, it's the first bunch of folks that you bring in that you really want to create this, what I refer to as identity loyalty, which is this notion of they see your vision and your gift as something, that's an important part of how they want to self express or connect. And then they do that. And then it's an opportunity to , to build that tribe together. And it's those, it's this first cup. It's that first group that becomes the core user that are the hardcore folk loyalists, who will help you build the rest of the market. So it's kind of a two-pronged approach, knowing the why, but also those first bunch of people that you build into your community to understand how to build that relationship. And it's not a transaction, you're not selling them stuff. You're building the relationship and the strength of that connection from an identity perspective and your brand, whatever your gift is, is going to be the, the pathway, the , which they can make this connection. And then, oh, and by the way, they'll happen to buy stuff from you because you have this deeper relationship or this deeper connection.

Speaker 1:

That's so powerful because at first I thought you were talking about, as you bring on team members, you might be, but you're really talking about your clients, share your vision. Like how powerful is that?

Speaker 2:

Yes. And I can tell you with 100% absolute metaphysical, certitude, Brad, that the power, you know, if I know Brad is the guru and personal wellness and corporate wellness and expertise like that, when he tells me, you know, what, you should do this, that's going to be 1000 times more persuasive and impactful than any ad I would see from some company that paid a lot of money to make an ad, right? So it's all the power of word of mouth and trust in the relationships that you have. You know, we all have that friend, who's the foodie. And we asked her, what restaurants should we go to? Or that friend who loves the movie, they love movies. Like what movies should I go see? And they tell you, and you do it right. It's like that kind of that's, that's what you're building on. And that's what you're trying to sort of put the S that you're trying to build on that kind of , uh , of connection. So that those people who come into your tribe have that same kind of understanding about this is what Brad does with phenomenal , uh, robustness. And so I want to follow him on in this area because I connect with his vision and we shared this vision, but we also have this relationship that's born out of , uh , a sense of community and identity. Right.

Speaker 1:

So good. All right . When it , when it comes to marketing code , we can talk about authentic authenticity here, because when it comes to marketing in quotes or branding or all this stuff, a lot of the coaches authenticity means so much to us and we want to be really, don't be fake. And a lot of times we feel like, well , that you got , you have to be fake to do marketing. Can you speak to that? What advice would you have for somebody who's listening to us and saying, oh my gosh, that's totally me. Yeah. I just, I feel fake when I'm marketing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I , I think, I think you have to reconceptualize marketing , uh , Brad, and the way that I talk about it from time to time is because people want to, sometimes people would like to think about marketing as manipulation. Yes. Right. So it's like, I'm trying to get you to do something that you don't want to do. Yeah , that's right. Yeah. Yeah. And so that's certainly happened . So I'm not going to deny that, that, you know, that that doesn't happen. But what, the way that I think about marketing and branding is I think about it , uh, like this it's , it's, it's like a hammer, a hammer is innately neither good or bad. It's what you do with it. So I can take a hammer and I can build a house for an elderly person, or I can take a hammer and knock that elderly person in the head and take their wallet. The hammer isn't good or evil. Right. It's what I'm doing with it. So it's the branding. So here's my advice to your listeners. Let marketing and branding be your friend, because it's not about manipulation. It's about connection. And the greatest brands understand that it's about building a relationship and creating affiliation. And then what the consequence of that affiliation happens to be transactions that will occur, but the transaction isn't the purpose. And so thinking about it from that perspective and not manipulation and an evil persuasion, but thinking about like, I'm just trying to build and share my gift with you. And for me, one of the big things is I look at, I try to make my relationship a place of , and I learned this from a personal coach that I work with, make my relationships a place of giving. And so if it's all about giving the gift and you're not thinking about, well, what am I getting in return? You actually open up your mind to a kind of peace . That's powerful because the expectation is not, I'm happy or sad because someone did something back for me. The expectation is I'm happy because I gave, and so it's like, you read it, you redefining what that relationship looks like. And in the context of building your brand, you're , you're , you're working on, on that gift, giving that gift and helping others realize their vision through that gift that you're trying to give them and building that community around that entire premise. So, first of all, let's throw out the word, you know, marketing is evil. Branding is evil, and let's just talk about building relationships, because that's what branding is. Branding is creating a system of meaning and creating an opportunity and a reason why people will connect with what it is that your core values are and what it is that you stand for,

Speaker 1:

Which again, brings us full circle of what you started with. If I don't have a good sense of my identity and what makes me unique and the impact I want to have on the world, what am I talking about? Like, I've got nothing to share . Now I have to be inauthentic because I'm selling you on something. Cause I'm, don't really, this, this is fantastic. So you start with a, and it naturally leads to authentic B

Speaker 2:

That's correct. That's a hundred percent correct. And I would say, you know , for absolute clarity here, you, you know, consumers are really good at sniffing out in authenticity, right? So, you know, the whole, this whole world of influencers has been an interesting world because it has turned into this kind of like, oh, if I pay a celebrity to talk about my service, somehow I'm doing something I'm being an event . That's not influencing, that's paid celebrity sponsorship, right. Influence has to influencers, do what they love to do. And it just so happens that they love to tell the world about what they do and they build their audience because of that authentic connection of a love of what they do, which is their gift. And so, you know, you work from that perspective and I promise you, I would, I would challenge any one of your listeners , listeners who had that point of view of like, I don't have this. I don't think I have anything. I guarantee you, you have it . I promise you, you have it, you just need to unlock it. You probably haven't thought about it in the right way to be able to pinpoint it. But I , I strongly believe that everybody's got something that is, that makes them unique and special in this world. So, so, so that's kinda my, that's kinda my perspective on things. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Uh , I love the way this stuff's coming all the way around. All right . How do you balance the desire to go deep and fully pursuing your ideal client and the fear that doing so will limit you so much that you'll end up with no clients?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think that's important. Uh, but this is the reason why something that we talk about all the time and segmentation is very important. So what you're trying to do is you're trying to understand, okay, you identify your gift , your brand, your why you understand that you articulate that. Now what you're trying to do is you're trying to identify people out there in the marketplace who, who will most need what it is that you have to offer. And it's, it's that kind of connection. It's that kind of niche where you particularly find a specific set of problems that you can address and address really, really well. And take that to a group of people. And you're not trying to speak to everybody necessarily at the , at certainly not at the start. You're trying to build a kind of core set of competencies around your brand and what it is that your gift is and your skillsets . And if you're doing that right there , that will be appropriate for some people, but not others. Sure. And , and you're perfectly okay with that, right. And this is the reason, like, for example, this is the reason why, you know, branding and companies that are looking at doing things with purpose now is a big part of things, right? So you look at a company like Ben and Jerry's and I talk, I talk about this company a lot, right there. I mean, they're not even an ice cream company. They're basically, they're basically activists who happen to sell ice cream

Speaker 1:

Completely. Right . But

Speaker 2:

If we come out and we profess these liberal values and liberal points of view with liberal ideologies, we are not going to be attracted to an entire group of people. And we're okay with that. Why? Because the people we do attract we're attracting on the basis of something deeper than milk cream and sugar. Yeah . And so, you know, if the competitive ice cream comes along and says, Hey, switch to our brand, because it costs less the per you're asking that person to change who they are. You're not asking them to just take a lower price option. And so the brand and identity create a kind of stickiness and focusing in on a smaller subsegment of a niche group of clients that you can focus on and deliver your unique value proposition to their specific needs. Vis-a-vis your why your brand, your articulation of your gift that you're doing something very, very powerful

Speaker 1:

Asking the person to change who they are. Yeah . Oh man. That is, that's your next book? Um , I

Speaker 2:

Think we just came up

Speaker 1:

With a title it's right . Here we go. I'm going to call you next week.

Speaker 2:

B R a D F .

Speaker 1:

All right. Your 2015 steady at that was, was super interesting related to many in our audience here that the perils of marketing weight management revenues and the role of health literacy, some , some pretty interesting conclusions. Can you, can you give us a highlights? We won't get into too much of the details here, but here's a pallet to that cause pretty intriguing.

Speaker 2:

Okay. For sure. Yeah. I think it's interesting because I did that work in 2015 is when I did that work with one of my colleagues, Lisa Bolton, who is a professor of marketing at the Shamiel college of business at Penn state. And , um, yeah, we were interested in the notion of labels and how labels affect how you perceive the product and the notion of , uh , the notion of calling an intervention, a drug versus a remedy has powerful implications on your expectations about what that thing is going to do. Not only, but also what is my expectation about how I'm going to integrate that into my life. And so that was sort of the big takeaway, like these, what seems like very innocuous labels actually have incredibly powerful effects on people. And you know, one of the big examples that exist in the, in the marketplace where this is a another company, I talk about a lot, which is CVS, who made a decision to say, we're going to stop selling tobacco products. Okay. Wow. That's a lot of money that you're losing, but here's what they said, Brad. They said, we're going to start calling ourselves CVS health. And the notion of CVS health versus CVS pharmacy is different because the word pharmacy implies I'm sick and I'm going to go there and get something to fix this problem. I have the word health, wellness, health, CVS, wellness, and health is about proactively , uh, doing something ahead of time to take care of yourself in a more of a holistic kind of bigger picture sort of way. And so our research in that drug versus remedy was like, there's different ways that you can conceptualize the things that you need in your life to help you be better, physically, mentally, emotionally, et cetera. And those labels and the way that you frame them in your mind will affect all kinds of things with respect to your ability to , to seek a wellness. Because if wellness is about doing something ahead of time, then it's a totally different ball game. And , and you know , quite honestly the healthcare industry should care about this. Cause we don't want to get the person when they're sick. And now there are huge cost burden on the system. We want them to make these little investments over time so that they don't end up in that situation that, you know , creates a burden for the healthcare system. And so that paper was about what are the little nudges and little reframes that we can do to sort of create more of a remedy perspective . I'm going to, I'm going to like, I'm going to proactively try to seek, you know, a better place of wellness for myself. And that's, that's kinda what that paper was about, but it was just interesting that later on CVS would sort of adopt an entire retail strategy that was kind of consistent with at least some of the arguments that , uh , Alisa and I were making in that paper.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. All right . A couple of weeks ago I was finding on Twitter and by the way, why don't you throw out your Twitter handle? If people want to follow you there real quick, then we'll come back to the question.

Speaker 2:

Totally. So on Twitter, I am at a M R E D too . If you want to follow me on Twitter , uh, follow the hip hop profile on me , follow me, follow me, follow me, but don't lose your grip. Um, and on Instagram, I'm at professor, America's all one word. Perfect.

Speaker 1:

All right. So a couple of weeks ago you reminded burger king that they could have benefited with a little pre-test before they ran their women belong in the kitchen tweet, it was supposed to support female chefs. Didn't exactly happen that way. So this is an obvious piece of advice for a big company like burger king, but how does the small business on how does the small, you know, the person that runs the haircutting salon or the health and wellness coach, or we , you know, more the 1, 2, 3, 5 person thing, w what do they do with this pre-test idea?

Speaker 2:

Here's, here's the way you , you work it out. And I think this is important, Brad, in a sense that you're going to want to, what I always do. And I do this. You want to have an inner circle. So you have to create a , you, you have to create , uh , an , I don't want to call it an entourage that makes it sound too much fun, but it might, it might even be an entourage

Speaker 1:

Profit. You've got an entourage for the rest of us.

Speaker 2:

So you create this inner circle and they are, they help you understand and pressure test ideas. And so, but the people you put around you, you want to put people around you that are at your level or better. And so you create this inner circle and they become your sounding board for ideas that you might have. And that's not some big deal. That's amazingly interesting that big companies don't, you know, have a conversation at the water cooler and more likely than not some set of employees are going to say, I'm not sure that's a good idea. And here's why. And so it's that kind of thing that doesn't have to necessarily happen than in some big fortune 100 environment, although it should, but it certainly can happen in these smaller kind of contexts where you create a kind of an inner circle and entourage and advisory board of sorts, but not so formal, but just like a group of folks that you talk to and you, and you bounce ideas off of. And hopefully, you know , they have a different perspective than yours and can help expand your viewpoint so that you don't make these kinds of mistakes.

Speaker 1:

I was going to throw that out there and you, you hit it there at the end, it's it can't be mirror images of you, or it's not doing any good. You need people with a diverse focus of the world and perspective on how they see the world, or it's really not doing you much good. Right. That's it

Speaker 2:

Exactly correct. And for me, it's, it goes back to a lot of research on grit and resilience, and the idea that the social media world today makes it too easy for us to retreat into a world of only things that we believe or want to believe. So I actually forced myself to be exposed to different points of view, and I might think they're crazy or wonky or whatever, but it gives me that perspective that then allows me to understand that my, the way that I think isn't the only way to think in the world. And it allows me to have those more degrees of freedom to be able to understand how I can potentially course correct before I make some of these kinds of kinds of more catastrophic mistakes,

Speaker 1:

Right. And folks, listen to what he's saying there, he's very purposeful about seeking out people that don't agree with him. You've got to do that. I've been making a point of doing the exact same thing Americas , because the algorithms are built in the reverse. If, if I believe this, it's going to give me all kinds of people that believe just like me and suddenly I think the world is just people like me and it's not at all. And so I love that. You're saying you've got to be purposeful about seeking out following Harding, you know, commenting whatever with these people that you go, this guy's crazy, but I could still probably learn something

Speaker 2:

Exactly and exact . And you know what what's interesting about that, Brad is that that's an exercise in humility because you know what I mean? Because it's like to, to step aside and say, I could be wrong, or, or to, to, to be open, to being wrong and hearing a different point of view. That's where all the growth happens. I mean, I think that that doing the hard stuff, doing the challenging stuff , uh, pressure testing against views that are not like yours, that's, that's what you get out of the comfort zone. And that's where all the growth actually happens. So I try to put myself in those difficult situations as much as possible to build that resilience muscle, but also to create a kind of expansive , uh, sense of, of, of, of what I can understand in the world and the decisions that I make.

Speaker 1:

I'm so glad this came up, I'm actually been playing around with a new word. You're welcome to throw it in your classes if you want, it's reflects tion . So it's not reflection it's reflex Tio in . And the concept is I have a natural response to everything you say. I have a natural response to any tweet that's out there or Facebook post or whatever. And , and I can either just have that reflex, like if somebody taps your knee and your , your foot kicks up, or I can reflect on that reflex and thus make a decision in a purposeful way. And so that's something I've been playing with is this idea of reflex tion and what I'm doing with that and how I can, like you say, we might end up disagreeing. That's totally fine. But at least I heard you, at least we had a conversation about it. At least we didn't just assume that you're an idiot or I'm an idiot. And so I'm really glad you brought that up. That's awesome. Last question. I so appreciate your time. This is fantastic. Uh, I , I just want to open it up. We could talk for hours about this stuff. Any final words of wisdom for individuals that want to optimize and use that word earlier? It's my favorite word in the world. So thank you, but optimize their personal or small business marketing, branding, or identity, anything that I haven't teed up here.

Speaker 2:

I think we've hit a lot of what it is. I think the other piece that is part of this is creating the persistence around the process. And for me, it's all about the journey, teaching yourself, how to fall in love with the journey and that the point is the journey and not the outcome. And so that allows me to not give up and in times of challenge, as I'm doing, cause this is like your point's a hundred percent correct. Right ? This is not something that's easy that you do overnight. Right? If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, but they're not right . So that's telling you that signaling to you like this requires some diligence, some motivation, some discipline, and the ability to keep going, even when it's hard. And so for me, that that's , I'd layer on top of that, that, that bridge between motivation and discipline, to be able to keep doing this stuff over and over. And the way I can keep doing is that I love the process of self-awareness and learning more about myself and reflection. I want to know, why did I have that knee jerk reaction? And what, what does that mean to what I believe inside of my body, that now I can have a thought about that thought. And that gets me to a closer place of self-awareness. So the , the Nirvana of brand building is this ongoing process. This journey of articulating your gift and your why to a specific set of people who, you know, that you can make this identity-based connection with and who can become part of this community that you grow and build together. That then becomes this process of becoming a better version of yourself. And that's the way I like to think about it. I'm , I'm, I'm a little bit better than yesterday, but not quite as good as

Speaker 1:

The better than yesterday, baby. I love that . Love that. Oh, okay. Everybody. Do you hear that three final tips? He didn't break him into 1, 2, 3 , even better just floated with it. He said, it's an ongoing process. This isn't a one-time thing. You listen to Americans and you got it dialed in tomorrow. You fall in love with the journey because it's an ongoing process. And then you, the creating persistence around the process creating that's an active, that's a purposeful step. So Americas , man. Thank you so much. This was so good.

Speaker 2:

I really appreciate the time. I love having a conversation. I follow your work. Brad's awesome. Keep doing the fantastic stuff that you're doing. Uh, this has been a fantastically fun conversation.

Speaker 1:

Thanks so much. Appreciate it. I told you this was going to be a good one. Didn't they ? Thanks again to Dr. America's read the second for joining us today. Thanks to you for tuning into the number one podcast for health and wellness coaching. Next week's guest is Stanford . Dr. Michael Snyder . He specializes in precision health care . Now you may have seen the fascinating article about his work and the wall street journal recently, who knew that our garments and Fitbit's and other things could potentially be the ticket to more effective healthcare . If your health and wellness coach are thinking about heading that way in your career, we'd love to have you join us over at the health and wellness coaching forum group. On Facebook, we'll include a link below or perhaps to note [email protected] We can send over the link, or if you have other questions, feel free. It's a great spot to share ideas, encouragement, and much more in the field of coaching. Now it's time to be a catalyst on this journey of life, the chance to make a positive difference in the world, all simultaneously improving our own lives, which is the essence of being a catalyst. This is Dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. Make it a great rest of your week. And I'll speak with you soon on the next episode of the catalyst health, wellness performance coaching podcast, or maybe over on the YouTube coaching channel.