Focus on Being Strikingly Different: Said Baaghil

Focus on Being Strikingly Different: Said Baaghil


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About Said Baaghil

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing adviser whose out-of-the-box ideas ignite companies to rethink how to reach their target audience and build sustainable brands.

His clientele consists of CEOs, and CMOs at leading organizations who are bold enough to be strikingly different from their competitors by breaking the chains of traditional patterns, evolving their business, and as result, creating brands that dominate the category.

Known as the man who ‘Evolves Business’. Baaghil is able to effortlessly dive into the heart and mind of the brand and chart out a new innovative course to optimize opportunities. According to him, well-built Brands are timeless which is why companies trust Baaghil for his in-depth knowledge of the science of brands and his ability to create marketing strategies that attains continuous growth.

Learn more on Said Baaghil at:

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Mary Drumond: (00:05)
This is Voices of Customer Experience, a podcast where we bring you the very best thought leaders and practitioners of customer experience and its overlapping verticals such as marketing, analytics, behavioral economics, journey mapping and design. Our goal is to help you be better at your job by listening to the experiences and leadership of others who like you have dedicated their careers to improving the dialogue between companies and customers. Voices of Customer Experience Podcast is brought to you by Worthix, the first and only self adaptive survey for measuring customer experience. Discover your worth at

MD: (00:46) Said Baaghil is the unconventional branding and marketing advisor whose out of the box ideas ignite companies to rethink how to reach their target audience and build sustainable brands. His clientele consists of CEOs and CMOs of leading organizations who are bold enough to be strikingly different from their competitors by breaking the chains of traditional patterns, evolving their business and as a result, creating brands that dominate the category. According to him, well built brands are timeless, which is why companies trust him for his in depth knowledge, the science of brands and his ability to create marketing strategies that attain continuous growth. Welcome to one more episode of Voices of Customer Experience Season 3. Joining me as usual is James Conrad. Hi James.

James Conrad: (1:34) Hi Mary, great to be here.

MD: (1:36) It’s great to have you on. And our guest today is Said Baaghil. How are you today? 

Said Baaghil: (01:42)
Hi Mary. Hi James. 

MD: (01:43)
Great to have you on. I wanted to start off with you kind of introducing yourself, what you do, what your passion is and how you feel in your way you’re changing the world. 

SB: (01:54)
My name is Said Baaghil. I’m originally from the Middle East. I grew up in the US. My formative years were in Europe and part in Egypt and I wasn’t an intelligent student by the way. So I went to high school in North Dakota and finished university in Maine. And I’ve been honest about my GPA since I had the confidence to go on stage and talk about it. So I graduated in marketing with a 2.0 GPA and I’m still in marketing. And when people ask me how did you get a 2.0 GPA – it was probably because my professors were boring. So I graduated from the University of Maine and I’ve worked with Edison Brothers Incorporated in the apparel business back then before the economic meltdown that happened in 2008. I’ve worked with them for about 12 years in the retail sector. 

SB: (02:48)
Then I and left them, moved to Mexico and moved to Egypt and Saudi Arabia for a bit as a consultant and I was a frequent traveler between, yes, Saudi Arabian, Hong Kong and South Africa for work. And that was when my consultants, you started, I published my first book around 2008 and then followed several books in coauthored one. And I was asked to praise Dan Hill’s book and that’s when I received my two confidence on going international with my thought. I’m regularly published on marketing that exist in Dubai called the GMR – Gulf Marketing Review. And definitely from there my experience started polishing and gain more confidence. And going on stage was not easy for me in the beginning. I mean there was sharing the stage with those that sort of have globally and that definitely was a plus where my vision’s grew ambitious, and I waslike, you know what, I have something if I’m invited to go on stage here and I’m invited to pray someone’s book that is well known, so I must have something. 

SB: (03:53)
And so from 2011 to today I’ve been traveling across Europe, us in part of Asia on consultancy, mission, public speaking and facilitating. So it’s been a dynamic, has been exciting and brand has always been in the heart of everything. And I sort of, the person that always evolves itself. I need to set the example on myself as a personal brand instead of preaching on personal brand or we’re talking about organization brand and I don’t even set my own. It’s sort of contradicts, you know, so you have a lot of people that talk about personal brand, but they’re not. There’s a lot of people that are talking about over the initial brand, but they’ve never worked on their own. So I focus very much on building my own personal brand and my company and brand and moving forward. Brand has always been the center of my work. It’s always been where I do a lot of research, a lot of insight and I battle the line of thought that exists versus how things are evolving. I mean you look at the audience, they’re evolving and everything around us is evolving. How come the subjects is not evolving? So that’s pretty much what my life is. 

MD: (04:59)
Where did this passion for branding come from? I mean, you know, in my mind branding is the beginning of everything. It’s that first contact that you have with the customer that the customer is seeing you for the first time. It’s the moment that you can do that love at first sight bit, let’s say from a certain point of view. But what was it for you that started this career with branding?

SB: (05:19) Well, I graduated in marketing. I’ve worked in marketing since graduation with Edison brothers and when I left I was not, I don’t want to pursue another career as an employee. I wanted to create something. I’ve always loved the idea of creation and I think that is where I’m sort of the person who does not process existing values, but I like creating values in how I want to prove myself in the society around me. So it’s always about solving a problem, and marketing plays an important role in solving a problem by identifying what is the problem and how to address the solution. And from there when the industry started evolving, then Brian came in. When I went to college, we didn’t have a class in brand. It was a retail marketing, market research,consumer behavior and all those and not even a subject on brand and I graduated in 1990. Even now when you talk about brand, I’ve always said that everyone can claim it’s a brand, but it’s only a brand in the mind of the audience or in the boardroom with the management, how they claim it. That passion started because I wanted to educate the public on what I know. I’m proving what I know by reading, by practicing, by being around those that are advocating brand. One of the people that truly inspired me in the beginning of my career was Al Ries.

SB: (06:37)
I read many of his books and they inspired me. Maybe Al was more of  simplicity in defining what marketing is and they didn’t touch much on brand, but he did come up at the end of it with the two laws of branding for example. And I have Al on LinkedIn and I’ve shared some thoughts with him on brand and branding So he agrees on a lot and also disagrees, but I love it. I love the point that somebody disagreed, you know, so there, that’s where the passion comes because I like, I like to read, I like to understand what brand is and I honestly, I do know how to describe how this passion was born. I just feel it. I just, I don’t know when it started. I’ve always loved marketing and I’ve always been a marketeer. But then I’d be evolved to fit the market on brand. And then I’ve continued on brand. I believe sometimes that I’m a bit ahead of time. What is your line of thoughts with other experts. But I am enjoying the battle almost everyday. 

James Conrad: (07:39)
Oh, I’ve spent most of my life in brand as well and probably have a similar story. I can’t remember exactly what drove me down this road. But once you get hooked, it’s hard to get off. You know, I wanted you to talk a little bit about brand relevance. You talk a lot about brand relevance on your site and for our listeners, could you talk a little bit about why you talk about brand relevance, what it means to you and the impact that brands can have on consumers’ lives? 

SB: (08:07)
Generally people talk about brand equity and generally when you talk about equity. So when you think about a category, for example, an FMCG  which customer experience plays an important role. So within the category of generally there is two top leaders and then the rest of them are replicating the values that exist for the two leaders and every one as head of marketing battles that are given would, James, you’ve worked with a reputable agencies, even heard the word equity quite often. Everybody  says, oh, we’re building our equities. But the question is how are you building on an equity when you were fourth in the category fits in the category. And then you’re constantly competing with the leader of that category. You’re not building an equity, actually a somebody else’s equity, which is the category leader. 

SB: (08:58)
Now the category leader itself owns the volume and because he’s relevant is the most relevant to address. What is that unique set of body and what’s the point of reference as a brand? The definition of what brand is and what branding is also confuses people. Because at times people had regressing advertising. That’s branding. They see a billboard with a logo. So that’s basically branding, which is almost true because advertising contributes. Part of the touch points on on brand. But again, what is advertising? Advertising in simple terms is awareness. But branding is continuous. It’s relationship, it’s every day relationship. That’s what makes it, I mean when we talk about brand, it is some sort of value that comes out of an experience that refers to a name, which is an idea that is what a brand is and then it holds a file in the minds of the stakeholders. 

SB: (09:47)
Now that file itself to be active advertising does not create the action. Advertising just raises that thought. But what creates the action is branding, because branding is all about relationship. It’s constant across all the touch points. So people are confused about branding and advertising. And then even the agencies when they call, we’re branding agencies and they’re selling as an example. And Brandon agencies comes and gives you a strategy and a guideline. The CEO or the or the CMO is quite confused what to do next. So what did he, does the most immediate point of reference for him to activate that strategy or guideline? Is that advertising the whole experience to a lot of these companies and very confusing. We’ve seen one big companies have done, I mean look at Apple and Samsung for example. I mean yeah, no matter what Samsung does, he’s a point of reference is upon reference or big brand called Apple. I put there’s not as much as as Samsung versus apple does brand names. Well Samsung does is called advertising.

JC: (10:43)
Cause the market talks a lot about, you know, branding as the positioning, right, of, of setting expectations for what it’s like to be a customer of and what the offer is and how we’re positioned and you know, there’s billions and maybe hundreds of billions of dollars spent to to do that. And that’s how advertising kind of comes in often is to help build and reinforce those perceptions. But yeah, it sounds like you’re saying that you see branding is more holistic, that it’s, it’s not about just communicating out a message or positioning a brand in a certain way. It’s about how someone experiences accompany your hotel and airline, a product that really is maybe more important that you are arguing then or communication of that proposition would be true. 

SB: (11:30)
Absolutely. I mean branding is holistic. If a message goes out from the corporate office and from the Public Communication, that message actually touches every point. It touches every essence of the stakeholders, whether if it’s something that’s done to investors or something that is done to the employees because that employee himself is engaging with customers almost every day. So branding cannot just be a single role it place holistically. No, it doesn’t play a role from customer’s side, but not necessarily from from the employee side. But here’s another thing also, which is very important. If you don’t do brand building inside, how do you build brand outside? Like he just said, you said meeting the expectations, right? I mean if I make a promise tomorrow to meet the expectation, what are the main ambassador to deliver that expectation to deliver that promise is the employee himself. Because I’ve already built the expectation from communication, delivering that communication, talking about the values themselves. 

SB: (12:21)
I build in the mind of the audience, the customer itself, what is the promise? So I read the bar on the expectation now who’s going to deliver that expectation? The product itself off the shop? Absolutely not. It’s the employee and we keep forgetting the value of the employee. And how important is this employee as an ambassador? And we’re asking second, we’re asking that our customers should become ambassadors. How do you expect your customers to become an ambassador if your employee is not an ambassador?

MD: (12:46) The thing that’s really catching my ear here is that you know, James and I have been doing this podcast for a while and one thing that we share, James, correct me if I’m wrong, is that we’re constantly trying to show our listeners how much branding overlaps customer experience, which is kind of the main focus of this podcast. And you’re really validating that right now for me because the overlap that you’re talking about is even more so than I initially envisioned. So when we talk about customer experience from a personal perspective, we’re talking about everything that the customer lives when in contact with that brand from before the relationship begins until even after, and from what you’re saying, branding is exactly the same thing, which would mean that both branding and customer experience play across the same timeline in customers’ lives. They walk even more hand in hand than I even thought. Honestly, I feel like this is a message that we need to get out maybe even louder and clearer so that more people and more organizations start understanding how important it is to work together, whether it’s branding or customer experience.

SB: (13:56) Absolutely. I just wanted to add to a thought here. When you look at Macy’s for example, or you’ve got Walmart or you look at any of the traditional retail stores, where does the journey end on the customer experience? Is it the point that will the cash register pays the amount that gets the bat and that said, no, actually no. In the heart of the customer, the journey continues. Yeah, and when you look at, when we talk about ecommerce the other day, when you and I discussed a few of it, look at the commerce itself. The journey itself actually stays about 21 days to 30 days because you’re talking about warranty, you’re talking about building up the trust at the same time, there’s a point of return, cash return, refund. There’s a lot of working blocks in the whole entire experience as a journey that takes the journey up to 21 days to probably two a month. But what happens when I just click pay and that journey is finished there? No, actually not because I lost the customer right there. I lost his trust because anything that goes wrong after he paid, everything goes wrong. 

SB: (14:52)
I have just determined the end of my brand. So that’s why I’m saying that, customer experience, when people talk about CX and when they talk about, yeah, design thinking, they always forget the value, the brand greens into this journey. You always forget that, that branding actually contributes in building up that relationship. 

MD: (15:13)
Imagine being able to pinpoint precisely why your customer chose you over your competition or didn’t. How much easier would it be to create growth strategies, secure budget funding, and improve customer experiences?This is what Worthix can deliver through its auto adaptive AI survey. So stop focusing on what and when and start understanding why your customers buy at

MD: (15:43)
I mean, there are very few business models, if any, that are singular one time transactions at some point, you should have a re-buy. You know, I’m here trying to think of what kind of situation would be a onetime purchase a gas station on the side of the road and a destination that you’re going to, not necessarily because nothing’s stopping you from driving back there in the future. So I can’t really think of any model that should or it’s acceptable for this model to ignore what comes after the purchase.

JC: (16:15) If you look at how organizations focus resources, let’s just focus on resources and and I mean money and people, the marketing side and brand building side you know it’s way more attention and dollars and investment to build. You know I think about the advertising budget versus the employee training budgets, you know, so it gets a lot more attention and there’s a lot more focus and fame in what at least traditionally has been called brand building, which tends to go hand in hand with advertising, communications, marketing, and oftentimes the experience side either is siloed away from and sometimes doesn’t even fit within marketing. 

JC: (16:55)
The CMO doesn’t always manage, you know, customer experience and they ended up being disconnected. It’s been something Mary and I’ve talked about on previous episodes about this disconnect between the amount of money spent in the, what I call a front end, right, of brand building versus the back end of brand building. And for what you’re saying, it sounds like rather than thinking of brand equity as more, how big is our positioning, how well defined is our positioning? It sounds more like it’s more about how synced up is your sort of front end brand building with everything that happens from the experiential side and if you get those in sync and the expectations and what we deliver are seamless then it feels like that’s really the way that you’re suggesting that brand strength should be measured. 

SB: (17:37) Very true. Very true. if we talk about ecommerce in the online ecosystem, for example, think about back in the sixties and fifties when Brandon and make a difference. It was all about commoditize. It was about needs and about necessities that you need. You buy, right and whether if it’s the sugar is sold, soap or whatever it is, but you have a label there now that generally has been transformed to what online is online as well. It’s just about, it’s about price reference if you have the right price, you win the customer. So we’re in the era of where online is commoditized right now at this stage, and I believe honestly we’re in the journalists market when it comes to online and specialty is going to come in the near future because it’s been so cluttered right now that any small size that opens online, there’s lots about a year and a half. Is that a business? It’s because there’s a replication of the existing values. Example, if you look at the Amazon model, yes the model has been replicated in every, even in the Middle East, has been replicated by all these names that are coming out these days. 

SB: (18:35)
So if you’re replicating as Amazon models where the point of differentiation here, what are the values you’re bringing? How are you building it cannot build a brand because every time you replicate Amazon value, you’re validating Amazon’s presence. You’re building Amazon’s relevance, you building Amazon’s equity. So as long as we’re doing that, we’re in the stage of commodity. But when did this commodity change? When business owners start thinking andd saying, listen, we cannot just do what Amazon does. It’s already been replicated by number one, two and three and four and five. It’s time for us to decide what we’re going to tap on and how are we going to be focused. There’s a problem with focus right there. Also, everybody wants to be the jack of all trades when it comes to online. What is the point of focus? What are we going to specialize in? What’s that specialty headset? That’s when brand building is gonna come alive. But right now I think commoditized everybody that replicating the same values and it’s either brand or price, and I’ll tell you it’s probably 80% price winning online and 20% brand.

JC: (19:33)
So, but do you see then in the ecommerce space, as you, as you talk about, I love this concept of sort of replicating what Amazon’s doing and you’re just, it’s becoming commoditized, but where do companies and how can companies then differentiate in a similar business model? It sounds like, correct me if I’m wrong – are you suggesting then that experience and how people experience brands is a way of differentiating the value proposition beyond just you know the business model and the technology? 

SB: (20:03)
I yes, yes, absolutely. But let’s agree fundamentally people intend to parachute a lot into brand thinking without understanding the fundamental, so if we’re going to talk about brand, we’re going to talk about the business strategy itself because brand is born out of the business strategy. Yeah. If we’re going to change the business strategy of Amazon online, that’s definitely is going to be a specialist because Amazon, it’s almost in its business strategy is tapping almost in every industry and the focus point of his differentiation is customer centric. That’s how he has positioned himself and absolutely the work he has been doing for the past 20 years. It’s addressing the customer’s benefit more than anyone and I don’t think there’ll be another organization that’s going to beat Amazon. This one, his strategy and if I go in to battle with Amazon and its strength, I’ll be out of business. And we’ve seen the battle between Walmart and Amazon, it has been ongoing for very long time. 

SB: (20:57)
Now, what I’m saying is this, go back and draw a business strategy that makes you more relevant than think about the brand itself because Amazon has it been in strategy is customer centric to the heart and that’s why his brand became a point of reference. You cannot just go talk about brand online to build a brand and talk about value proposition and point of differentiation when your business strategy itself is still the Amazon business strategy. So I’m saying start from fundamental itself, start in the business strategy. That’s where your point of differentiation is. Before you even dissect the brand, go back to the core, understand what are the emotional values you’re going to bring to the table, what is the function of values and what would its going to be the real core point that’s going to create that point of differentiation. 

MD: (21:45)
Let me change the subject really quick. You talk a lot about digital transformation and how digital transformation is a cornerstone in branding. Can you expand on this a little bit?

SB: (21:52) Sure, sure. That’s a great question and I’m not a tech savvy guy, but I see a lot of LinkedIn. Everybody talks about digital transformation and sometimes scares me. Absolutely. It scares me. It scares me how people talk about digital transformation within an organization that does not even have a culture. I mean when it isn’t an, at the end of the day we’re dealing with people. Even if we do the visual transformation, don’t we have to maintain a certain type of culture. Again, culture can be for brand. So if you’re going to go to digital transformation and good brand building and we never even touched the culture, everything what we’re doing, we’ll collapse so why not go back? Fundamentally, as much as I like to see digital transformation, as much as I’m very much concerned that is sort of a bubble, a few expert understand what a digital transformation is and many just follow those trends and try to apply. 

SB: (22:45)
But in today’s world, I think digital transformation is right in the heart of it and I don’t think any organization in the next 10 years will survive without going through that transformation. But I’m saying one thing very important as much as the digital transformation is in the heart of it, cultures in the heart of it because at the end of the day, even you’re reducing the number of employees, it would be still people that you’re dealing with. That culture has to be in there or you cannot even build brand. We tend to think about the technical side, the functionalities and so on and without understanding the actual science is going to build oldest and delivered the final vision based on the strategic missions. That’s the problem where I would ourselves as humans, we intend to parachute into ideas first and skip all the values. 

MD: (23:39)
So right now most of your work is focused in the Middle East, Middle East, in Europe. One thing that I’ve heard you say before, and it’s on your website, is it the Middle East in many terms when it comes to marketing, branding, there’s still a couple of decades behind what we consider to be like the cutting edge of marketing here in the u s what are your thoughts on that? Do you think that most of the work that you’re doing at the moment is sort of bridging that gap between the West and the Middle East or you know, what sort of ideas are you exporting to the Middle East and which are you importing? Because I mean it’s a massive market and in some market that’s very in tune with customer experience, with branding, with marketing, they’re betting a lot of chips on building customer centric companies. So what are some of the main points that you feel are valid to bring up and mention about where the Middle East is going with their marketing and branding strategies? 

SB: (24:28)
Mary, that’s a great question and actually this is one of my passions. It’s my purpose to enable tomorrow’s leaders in the Middle East. The bright lines, the startups up today who are actually thinking about brand will understand how culture works. I actually quit on the older crowd, the current small percentage of the CEO’s with a mindset that refuses to change and the mindset that so adamant what they believe in. Now let’s go back in history. The way the market was forming in the Middle East was an influence for multinationals. So you have P&G, Kraft and all those organizations. They had a strategic interest in the Middle East, but not to fundamentally build a market, but it was more of a financial interest. So when you have P&G for example, their head offices for global is a London or in Brussels for example. So the intent to look at that market before even establishing the market from a fit perspective. 

SB: (25:22)
So you’ll have a distributor, you’ll import, distribute, and basically ident of the day, the whole entire cycle is about sales. Now, once the nature of the market itself improves, the government gets involved in building the necessary logistics and so on. These multinational starts investing into marketing, branding because they believe there’s going to be a sort of an awareness with the consumer is no longer that pamper day because the dark or difficult, it’s called Pampers, but also Pamper needs to battle somebody else who’s going to come into the market. So when they go and hire, they look at engineers because they want people that just follow the rules. The rules are set in America, the rules are set in Europe. So when he looks at a brand manager or head of marketing, he doesn’t want somebody who graduated from in marketing this want somebody who’s studied brand was somebody that worked, follow the rule and the best one to follow the rule as an engineer. 

SB: (26:12)
So literally the whole entire market right now, we’ll look at the marketeers in Middle East, generally about any pop to 90% of them are engineers, engineer background. So they have that trading mindset where they say, okay, here’s the number of SKU, use our hat. I need to manage this. And the only way he can understand that managing the Brad is his relationship with the agencies, but it does not understand that the fundamental bet. So what was the result of this? Let me go fast track on this. Then all of a sudden the local companies that are developing themselves, then the stood out from the multinational that there’s something called brand. It could be a nice logo. It could be a nice design. So these engineers, when they quit the multinational, they go to the local side of the business, which is the local brands. 

SB: (26:55)
Once they go there, they get confused. Why? Because it requires complete fundamental structure unlike being like Unilever. So here’s when they get stuck. So I started witnessing the problem right there when I sold several exercises and I’ve published several articles on these exercises from local brands and I said this is not brand well, they had a marketing claim, there was a brand exercise, a brand name exists, but it’s not. So what happened? Key examples. For example, somebody that owns a tea bag, a tea company decided that he will reposition his company because he’s selling CTCs. Long Leaf. And the ones that enjoy that sort of experience, the older age and they’re declining so he wants to target the younger ones. So the head of marketing was a former P&G or green guy comes in. I’m sure also there’s a lot of politics within the organization is not able to do much of what you wanted to do, but what did you do? 

SB: (27:49)
He your position, the values based on what things. Leadership is feedback. So how am I going to place something that is low looseleaf that people enjoyed through an experience into teabag, which the word teabag itself is lifted in general within the Middle East. People will, if people blindly and ask anyone in the Middle East and Africa or even Asia teabag, that’s automatically so they validated the strength of Lipton so that itself as an example was horrible. I mean you cannot blame him or you cannot blame the market, but you also blamed your organization. So when you see that kind of exercise is when you know that you have a great responsibility of educating and enabling the brand understanding and differentiation between brand and branding. And unfortunately to even make things worse that you have an advertising agents use that talks about brand and goes and approaches companies.

SB: (28:40)
And they say we’ll do the brand strategy for you. Well, you’re in advertising. How are you this whole entire mix up that has caused the market to completely collapse on the thought itself drove me to think and say, okay, I have to do something. I’m not big, I’m small timer, but again, what did I do? I started educating people on brand, branding, and marketing on all the social media platforms like LinkedIn, start writing books and so on. But recently what I did and I, I find this to be a lot better for me, it’s I wanted to expand and in order to expand. As I started partnering with different organizations and different principles in which we see the same vision, the same purpose and that’s how we created, for example, the brand summit conference that took place last year in Cairo. This year is going to happen in Bahrain this coming September and again in Cairo and we want to expand it across Middle East and Africa. I’ve partnered with brand week in this will also in Turkey in which I’ll have my own vinyl every year. That’s another initiative. And then I’ve partnered with great thinkers out of America and out of Europe and we created something called the core, which we will publish articles and go on stage and speak about certain types of thought on the fundamental of brand and how you can build brand without the use of advertising. So it’s exciting. It’s exciting, it’s been challenging certainly. But I’m very extremely hopeful that things will change, that the new generations will definitely understand brand a lot better. And the dynamic of leadership that existed in the Middle East would bring that certain change that’s been needed. I mean you’ve got young leaders today in power who ultimately believe that time has come where Middle East needs to be very competitive, globally competitive. And I think there’s great hope and I look forward to it.

JC: (30:29)
Yeah, I agree. I mean my experience in the Middle East has been that it’s a fascinating market and there’s tons of opportunity and I’ve seen things going on there in the marketing side that I think are best practice even globally that than I have in my interactions there have sort of brought back to New York and other places as things that we should be adopting, so lots of opportunity there, and I’m glad you’re part of the movement to continue to improve. The last thing I wanted to ask as we wind down here is, as we think about our listeners today and you’ve been doing this for a long time and pushing this idea of branding and more holistic ways as we’ve talked about today, what would you say to our listeners, is there sort of starting now to reflect on their own branding for their organizations and how they’re doing it? What would be some of your best advice on either the questions they should be asking themselves, advice you might give a company that’s starting on this journey of expanding the way they think about branding more holistically? What would be some of your best advice that you’ve given our listeners and we’ll sort of where to start on this journey? 

SB: (31:39)
James, branding has been always a marketing arm. Well, in general it is not a marketing arm. Branding is supposed to be in the hands of the CEO because it actually reflects on every stakeholders. Now, my advise would be this, my first advised my experience that I’ve noticed in the past 20 years. If you’re the founder of a company or you’re the CEO of that company and they don’t understand how brands work, it’s critical is going to cause the organization to face a lot of problems in the long run because if you’re going to build up a vision and you’re going to build up a strategy, your business strategy and you’re going to build up a culture, brand has been the center of it. 

SB: (32:14)
So if the CEO does not champion the brand or the founder does not champion the brand, how does he expect that his organization builds a perception across all stakeholders? It’s almost impossible. If he leaves that to marketing, it will always be from the demand side of the business. But how about the supply side of the business? Who’s going to lead that and it was going to build the brand with the employees? The CEO sets the example for his not marketing. So I always say learn what brand is, understand the fundamental of brand, read if you have to read, take a coaching if you have to. The CEO and a founder has to be brand and not marketing. And unfortunately today James, you know well and Mary that brand has been left to marketing, so it only does one sector or one stakeholder from what, 50 or 80 different stakeholders. So this is sort of advise would certainly give at this stage.

MD: (33:06)
That’s a great point. Great Advice. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for coming on today. It was great having you. Is there some way that our listeners, if they want to stay in touch with you, if they want to read more of your material, how can they find you? What’s the best way to find you?

MD: (33:26) I’m always on LinkedIn, you know, I always say I’m going to quit LinkedIn by having a hard, I’m quoting merged, so publish almost every morning I’m on LinkedIn and if the search in the box there by deal, they’ll find me and happy to serve, how to serve everyday. As long as people understand the value of brand and it’s gonna improve their organization, I’m happy to serve. It’s, it’s what we give an aisle. That’s our purpose. My purpose as an organization or as individuals is to help those that need. And, and I know it’s the long term, if people listen and understand the value of brand, there’ll be very, extremely rewarding to them.

MD: (34:04) Awesome. Well thank you so much for coming on today, James. Thank you again for being here and sharing a bit of your experience and we’ll see you all again next time.

SB: (34:12) Thank you. Thank you, James. Thanks you. Thank you, Mary. Have a good one. 

MD: (34:18)
Thank you for joining us on one more episode of voices of customer experience. This podcast is hosted and produced by Mary Drumond, edited and co-produced by Nic Gomes and Steve Berry. This podcast was brought to you by Worthix. Discover your worth at

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Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix, the world's first cognitive dialogue technology, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.



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