Being Real With Kirby & Bill at Skucon

Being Real With Kirby & Bill at Skucon

It’s 2:48, and I have no voice left. I am currently on my flight back to D.C. from the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas. Before I got to PPAI I was at Skucon2017 (you can read all about that here). Not only was it amazing, like I mentioned before, I met some really awesome people. Two of them being Kirby Hasseman and Bill Petrie. For those of you who don’t know them, they do a Podcast focused on the Promo Marketing space called Unscripted. If you’re not listening to that regularly, you’re missing out.

During the conference, they did a live Podcast, about 25-30 of us sat in and listened. I also tweeted, and asked questions. None of which I will be telling you about now, because frankly, I lost my notes during my Vegas shuffle. That doesn’t matter, though. The point is, they do an excellent job.

That podcast prompted me to engage with them. We had a valuable conversation at Citizens during the PPAI Expo, where I was able to pick their brain and learn more about what they’re doing. The best part about their podcast and then sitting down with them was seeing their authenticity. What you hear when listening to Unscripted and sitting with them in a more…intimate environment is the exact same thing. Their interaction, engagement, thoughts on our industry; it’s all so real.  It got me thinking about brand authenticity.

Being real is what keeps your brand identity accurate. Differentiation through creative expression, in a way that fosters a real audience connection. That’s what Bill and Kirby do well. It’s also what we as promotional product marketers struggle with. We’re in an industry where many of us have trouble defining what we do, or what we sell. It becomes a struggle to seem authentic, no matter how much we live, eat, and breath our business.

Here comes my recurring message, content marketing should be your core strategy when branding yourself, and through content marketing be as real with your message as you are with your friends and family in a private setting. The value in having real people advocate for brands by inspiring, informing and entertaining audiences across social, content, podcasting, and video is REAL. Serving up the content your audience wants on their terms and in their language from people they trust works. Here is the best part, you can be the real person that they trust. Just look at every brand that you personally buy from. How do they share content with you? I would be willing to bet it’s very real.

Expand your brand’s comfort zone. Encourage, don’t dictate, social conversations, personal stories, and videos. Don’t sell your products or product lines, stand them up and let them live a story line. In other words, be more unscripted (see what I did there? *winky face). Let everyday people, professional creators and experts communicate their love or need for your brand in their words and style. Be willing to be criticized or attacked. There’s real value in finding out things you may or may not want to hear.

I hope everyone has had a fruitful week, and to see many of you next week in Orlando. If you want to connect, reach out to me here, I would love to sit down and engage with any and everybody.