Branding Matters

Gair Maxwell - Become A Big Little Legend

April 22, 2022 Branding Badass Episode 62
Branding Matters
Gair Maxwell - Become A Big Little Legend
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Gair Maxwell - a Brand Strategist and global authority on helping organizations create legendary brands.

A former radio and tv host, Gair is an award-winning keynote speaker and author of the new book Big Little Legends; How Everyday Leaders Build Irresistible Brands. It's a book he wrote to help leaders identify timeless, universal secrets to help them create irresistible brands of their own. 

I invited Gair to be a guest on my show to discuss “The Mona Lisa Effect”. I wanted to know how any brand, no matter what size, can become a legend. And I was curious to get his POV on why storytelling is at the forefront of a brand’s success.

💥IF YOU WANT HELP GETTING YOUR CLIENTS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BRAND,  REACH OUT TO ME ON SOCIAL AT BRANDING_BADASS OR EMAIL ME AT JGOODSON@GENUMARK.COM

Joelly Goodson :

Hi I'm Joelly, your Branding Badass, and welcome to season two of Branding Matters. My guest today is Gair Maxwell - a brand strategist and global authority on helping organizations create legendary brands. A former radio and TV host, Gair is an award- winning keynote speaker and author of the new book Big Little Legends: How Everyday Leaders Build Irresistible Brands. It's a book he wrote to help leaders identify timeless, universal secrets to help them create irresistible brands of their own. I invited Gair to be a guest on my show to talk about differentiation and relevance when it comes to branding. I wanted to know how any brand can become a legend. And I was curious to get his point of view on why storytelling is so important when it comes to a brand's success. Gair, I'm really thrilled to have you here with us today. Welcome to Branding Matters.

Gair Maxwell:

Well, thank you so much, Joelly and I have no idea what kind of freewheeling adventure you're setting us up for today. But I'm looking forward to the ride, as I'm sure all your listeners are to

Joelly Goodson :

Well, I appreciate you saying that. I appreciate you being here. And we have lots to cover. And it's really really interesting information that I think my listeners are gonna get tons and tons of value from and it's gonna be so helpful for them. Before we get into talking about branding and everything that you're doing in your book. I want to back up a little bit. So you were in your past life, a TV and radio host. Is that correct? So can you o tell me a little bit about that career. And then how did you go from that to becoming a brand strategist?

Gair Maxwell:

I'm going to give it as short of a version as possible. But for a time I was in Calgary doing radio and television, I was even up the road for a time in Red Deer, Alberta. I read the news and Ron Maclean was playing the records on 850 CKR D. So that might date me a little bit. But yeah, I did 20 years of broadcast journalism. I was a newscaster I was a sportscaster it's very important for our listeners to know, generally that I was basically a product of the newsroom. And if you want to know why that was, it's because I, I always, as a kid just loved history. I just geeked out on stories and books of generals and admirals and campaigns. So journalism, I suppose was a natural extension of that. And then everything changed to May 21 1999. I talked about it in chapter two of the book. But the pivotal moment was when I met the guy, and I didn't know it at the time. And I'm sure Joey, everyone, again, can relate to this. You don't know it at the time. When is the window open really, really wide? Well, it doesn't it the door opens a tiny crack.

Joelly Goodson :

Little cracks at a time right?

Gair Maxwell:

Little cracks. And I met Jim. Jim was a guy I met at the Fredericton, New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, he had five employees. He was selling an interchangeable product doing about 1.2, 1.3 million a year in annual revenue. And he comes up to me afterwards. I did a little presentation at the Fredericton Chamber that morning. And he wants to know, geez, he's curious. So he's curious to know what, what can we do together to build his little business and it's true. He's got a little small mom and pop business. The truth is, he's a character right out of Seinfeld, because he's a low talker. He's very quiet. And I want you to hear that he's very soft spoken, quietly generous. And so we started working together. And it was only four short years later, where Jim and I stumbled onto something partly intentional, though, partly intuition, part intention. And we change the story. And that's probably where this big little legends philosophy was born from. So this is so important in this day and age. We didn't change the product. We didn't change the pricing. We changed the perception through the power of one story. And we went on the air with 32nd vignettes, with stories about Canada's huggable car deal. We never talked about pricing, product or promotion. We told 32nd vignettes about how he's the Casanova of customer focus. He's the Romeo of Roadsters. He's the McDreamy of drive and you could stop by and get your daily dose of hug atonium designed to improve your love affair with your car and your libido. And people are sitting there wondering where's this all going? Here's where it's going. This is strategy. What are 22 other car dealers in his market within 100 columns? Under radio is talking about, what are they talking about, they're talking about better quality, better selection, better service, better value, better prices, come on down with your 0.9% financing on all makes and models. We didn't talk about any of that. What we discovered was when you change the story, you change perception. And I would argue the used car business is the worst business in the world, in terms of public perception and reputation. And a really long story short, this by 2020, Canada's huggable car dealer employs 38 people, and does north of $50 million, becomes the biggest use car enterprise in all four Atlantic Canadian provinces.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow. So that is a great story. I feel like we've jumped ahead a little bit. So I'm going to kind of bring you back on track, because I want to kind of go through a little bit of a journey here. And so I love that story. And that's a great story. But I just want to go back as far as so this, Jim, who you met, you just met him at an event. And he was a car salesman, and he was low talker. And you helped him create a brand that became very successful based on tweaking it and changing the story, basically, right is basically and you've done, and I love what you've done. And I want to talk about your book, Big Little legends, because it is just incredible. And there's a lot of amazing things in there. So congratulations on the book. First of all, I think it's great. So I want to address certain things in the book. So the first I want to talk about is because I think these are really important point is attention economy. You talk about a Texan economy. So can you share what that is? And why that is so relevant in branding, especially today?

Unknown:

Well, I think attention is the lifeblood for any business out there. If you can't, what's going to happen to any business that slowly gets starved of attention, it dies. So in the attention economy, everyone's competing for attention. So the car business is actually no different than the contracting business than the management consulting business. It doesn't matter whether you're a landscaper, or a lawyer, you need attention to survive. Right? And so what the best brands in the world if and I love it, and I know you're fascinated by it to what makes the best brands in the world the best, whether it's Nike, Apple, Ferrari, Harley, Davidson, Disney, you know what, they grab people's attention, they grab it by the throat, and they don't let it go. They're very good at that. We metaphorically use the phrase Big Little legends to describe how do you get that attention, even if you're a small to medium sized business, right. And so that's what this is all about how everyday leaders create irresistible brands, it starts with recognizing, hey, we compete in the attention economy. And attention used to be easy to relatively easy to get in the 20th century. Because you could go out and interrupt people on the radio, you could interrupt people, you know, on television, you could buy ad space. And you could get attention that way. Now, as you're so aware, and I would suspect many of your listeners are aware, you've got to earn attention completely differently. And now,

Joelly Goodson :

And keep it

Gair Maxwell:

And keep.

Joelly Goodson :

It's one thing to get attention. But then keep it and then you know, and then keep that loyalty and everything that goes along with it.

Gair Maxwell:

That's why branding matters. Branding matters, because that's how you're gonna start to get some attention and acquire some notoriety. You know, we spent nearly four years researching the book,

Joelly Goodson :

What inspired you to write the book?

Gair Maxwell:

Well, I love that question, because I could see the parallels between the same principles that created apple and Nike and Disney, but I could see that for example, happening at the huggable car dealer. What people don't recognize and this is great that we're on audio so I can paint the picture. If Walt Disney conceptualize what a used car lot looks like, this is it. It's in Fredericton, New Brunswick, there's hundreds of teddy bears. There's mascots there is merry go rounds, there's a nature trail to go walk your dog called the trail of hugs. There's 500 other things. The point is, it's a complete experience. It wasn't just the marketing, it was the internal culture it was customer care and follow up again. I could tell many, many stories about that. But my point is that we knew we were developing something completely original. And then one day this and this answers your question one day someone said to me said you know we we go to these marketing and branding workshops and all we hear ever hear about are the Starbucks and the Coca Cola and the apples and Nikes we never hear about people like us. Boom, Genesis moment. That's where the seat of the eye Dia was planted. And then truth be told, and I wrote about it. It was April 24. In 2018. at Torrey Pines, I was speaking at a boating conference in Torrey Pines, near San Diego, a friend of mine, who I really trust clay bear. So Clay, if you're listening to this, another shout out. And the big thank you is, Clay sat in the back of the room and saw the different stories and the exercises. But he was the one who made the observation afterwards, he says, you know, he says, You're really a brand historian, he says, I think your word is legends. And long story short, totally. That's kind of where I love that it came into focus. And then it was head down for a good four years of writing and researching.

Joelly Goodson :

Well, I love that for so many reasons. But one specifically, where you talked earlier is that you're right, we all we can all name these big brands, whether it's Apple or Starbucks or Tesla or Yeti, whatever. But the reality is that the majority of business owners are the medium to small business owners. And you know, it's funny, because that was really the impetus for me starting my podcast, especially when COVID hit and there was all these forest entrepreneurs starting businesses, it's great that you start a business, but what is your brand? What's your brand story? And then what is branding? And why is branding, so important to help you grow your business? And so it's the same thing, they don't have the budgets that these big companies have, and they don't have everything else, but they can still be successful, and they can still be really strong brand. And so that's why, you know, I think there's a lot of synchronicity between your book and what I'm trying to help my listeners with. So I love that you said that.

Gair Maxwell:

That's been my, you know, well worn 20 plus years of experience doing this is that there's a lot of small to medium size businesses out there Jolie and one of the number one issues is differentiation, what's going to separate you from everybody else in your space. And here's the crushing blow, if I may, it's not going to be the quality of your product or service, because everyone will trump it how they've got the best. You can go into any department store, for example, and see all the power drills. Well, why would I pick that power drill over any other? Whether it's power drills or drugstores? They all tend to look the same?

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I had to get one of my earliest guests on I don't know if you know, David Avrin? He wrote a few books, but he basically talked about the four most dangerous words in business. Do you know what they are?

Gair Maxwell:

I'm dying to hear that.

Joelly Goodson :

All things being equal. Because all things being equal, how do people make a choice, right? Price, and you never want to compete on price, because then people can always go lower. So you have to differentiate yourself and do something that no one else is doing. And that's what's gonna set you apart. Which brings me to the Mona Lisa effect. Can you please share what is the Mona Lisa Effect? And why is it so relevant, especially in branding?

Gair Maxwell:

I'm almost embarrassed to say it. I didn't see it the first time I went to the Louvre. And the truth be told, I think it was on the third visit. So a while back, we had been going to Europe, but seemed like almost every other year. If you're going to Paris, where the you know, to places you're absolutely going to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Like, there's no question there, one and one a. Well, later, I find out that 10 million people a year go to the Louvre. And I know now that 99% are going to see one painting. And that's it. They just want to see that one painting. And it was on the third visit that I was in I'll take you and our listeners through it, Julie. I'm wandering through and it hits me. I'm not in a museum. It looks like I'm in a museum, but I'm not. I'm in a market where there's 35,000 paintings competing for that magic word, your attention attention. I start going through the galleries. Now let's you and I picture this. You go through these galleries, and some of them have these magnificent, breathtaking works of art that are you just can't believe a human centuries ago created this masterpiece, and there are no spectators. Some of these galleries are like completely empty of people. And then you turn the corner. Oh, one little 30 by 21 paintings on the wall and it's the mob rules. Okay, this is the carnival without the rides. This is the rock concert. Without the musicians. People are jammed and crammed and they're all trying to get selfies and and get around Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece. And so the journalist in me looks at that one day that the day that day, and I go, why? Why are they all behaving this way? So the moment Elisa effect is shorthand to describe this impossible lineup that has formed and continues to form. For generations, you'll see the Mona Lisa effect. For example, at Disney where they're lined up for more than an hour to get rides in the hot Florida sun, you'll see the Mona Lisa effect. You know, every time Apple releases a brand new phone, the greatest phone ever what happens that some of them will pitch a tent camp out in the rain just to get first in line to buy a phone.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, but so why? Like I want I'm so why?

Gair Maxwell:

Why do you care for the Mona Lisa and not all the other masterpieces? Okay, because it has nothing to do with the painting. That was our big discovery. That's the big breakthrough. It's got nothing to do with the painting itself. Wow. So no matter what anyone tells you about how, you know, it's the eyes that follow you around the room or the animatic? Smile? No, no, and no, because one of the things we identified in the book, and it's in all 12 chapters, there is a specific moment in time when the legend was created. In the case of the Mona Lisa, which is chapter one. It was August 21 1911. Well, what happened on August 21 1911? See before that day, the Mona Lisa was not the most famous painting in the world. And I've tested this on audiences of close to 1000 people like at big hotels in Vegas, you know, and you ask, what's the most famous painting in the world and the Audience screams the Mona Lisa, then you come up. Why? Because in the 19th century, the Mona Lisa was not the most famous painting in the world and other pieces from guys like Rembrandt and Renoir were thought to have more value in the art world. What happened was, on August 21, the Mona Lisa was stolen. And when she was stolen, it was an Italian handyman didn't Genzo progeria that walks out in broad daylight on a Monday morning, he's got the Mona Lisa tucked under his smock. And part of the reason they think he took that painting was because it was so small, and it could be hidden. But when she disappeared, let me illustrate how not famous she was. She was so not famous that it took the officials at the lube nearly 30 to 48 hours before they even knew she was missing. Oh, wow. So don't tell me. She's no she wasn't okay. And just so you know, I do want to do a shout out. Joe and Justine maderos. out in California, are the globally recognized experts on the theft of the Mona Lisa. They've done a whole documentary, they went back and they even found Peru GIAs daughter in Italy. And so they are most credible source that we referenced in the book. But what happened was, once she had disappeared, then the officials at the Louvre notified the authorities and that's how the media picked up the story. While she doesn't just go front page in the papers in Paris, she went front page all over the world other papers picked it up. So start to imagine for a two year cycle, the Mona Lisa became front page news where the paper what other mass media existed back in 1911. That was it radios not even invented yet. She gets millions he talked about the attention economy. She's getting millions and millions and millions of dollars of free publicity that no painting ever got before or since two years later. Oh, would you believe there was fake news and there was controversy back in 1911. That scandal and the chief of police had to resign in disgrace and the people are writing in letters to the editor. It's an insult to the national honor and dignity of France. I mean, it was the news. But two years later, when she was recovered in Florence, Italy, Peru, Jia was caught when they brought her back to Paris under heavy guard 120,000 People are waiting for her to return. And this happens between 1911 and 1913. By 1914. World War One has broken out throughout Europe. But that's how the legend started. And so you know, one of the points we make in the book is this - in the case of the Mona Lisa, the story... See, here's the theory Joelly. What happens if Perugia walks out that morning with a different painting under his arm? Then what happens?

Joelly Goodson :

That other painting becomes the new Mona Lisa.

Gair Maxwell:

That's the Painting we're talking about more than a century later. So a story either happens to you like in the case of the Mona Lisa, or you need to make one happen. You know, Perugia got eight months in jail for his crime. And I argue the officials at the Louvre should have written the guy check for a million dollars, as of what? No, but think about it that sets the stage for it's a great way. It's a universal way, because one of the things I'm trying to get away from as people thinking about their category, so even someone listening right now, it's not about b2b or b2c. This is a universal concept, this challenges, marketing, and it's traditional operating systems. In other words, if you create the story, you might create the legend. No legend was ever created without a story. It doesn't matter whether it's the Mona Lisa, doesn't matter whether it's some of the other examples in the book, The huggable car dealer, everything traces back to some incredible drama that basically captured public attention and subsequent fascination.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, absolutely. So why do you think that is? I mean, why do you think it is the story that is creates the legend and not anything else? Like what is it about the story that you think, is the impetus for creating that legend?

Gair Maxwell:

I think honestly, and this is just my own observation from being a parent. And now being a grandparent, I think stories are our birthright. I think between the ages of two and six, most of the children of the world are tucked into bed at night. And what do they hear that story? I've got grandchildren who are ages three, and two, and I'm seeing history repeat itself with green eggs, and ham and Little Red Riding Hood and all the different stories. And so there's a lot of research out there that would argue between the ages of two and six, about 90% of the brain has developed. And if you think about when kids are little how fast they learn, well think about it, that brain is exposed to a daily ritual of storytelling. So they're picking up heroes, villains, right, drama, mystery, intrigue, suspense, comedy, surprise, all all the things. And that gets baked into the little humans DNA. Well, you can look at it that way. Or in the case of and this is where it's less about opinion. When we did the research for the book, Dana identified no fewer than 30 different scientific and medical research studies that connected science and storytelling. Now, there's way too much that we found to put in a book otherwise, Jolie would have read like, you know, like a university dissertation, right. We're still trying to write a book here. But the one we went with that I think is most universally applicable, comes from a 2012 study from Dr. Paul Zak. He's a neuro economist, that of California and what Dr. Zack did, and he wrote a book called The Moral molecule. And what he did, scientifically, is he used blood samples. So he had control groups and all the different scientific protocols and methodologies. And what he did is he exposed people to stories. And if a story was relevant or meaningful to you, you're based in Calgary, maybe you want to hear a story about the stampede, or about the Calgary Flames, 1989, Stanley Cup victory, whatever it is, if that story was relevant, or meaningful to you, it would show up in your blood in terms of he could identify higher levels of oxytocin. Well, oxytocin is a bio chemical that increases our levels of empathy, trust, generosity, makes us more open minded, and all those different things. So you might say that storytelling is not just a way to create human connection. It also helps grease the wheels of economic activity. So what I find fascinating and just to wrap up the point, is that this isn't me talking just as an opinion as an observation as a grandparent. No, this is this is actually science. This has been proven many times over.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I believe that wholeheartedly. From what I know about storytelling and marketing, it's about tapping into people's emotion because we make decisions especially buying decisions. We don't make buying decisions necessarily by our intellect we make it with our heart. How many times have you bought something that you know you shouldn't? Or you know, it's not in your budget, but you want it and you love it and you're gonna get it? Yeah, I think stories tap into those emotions right you mentioned earlier like fear and excitement and anticipation, and love and all those emotions that get us get the juices flowing and makes us connected to that story and then ultimately that brand.

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah, and you just reminded me of something. And maybe this is the easiest way for your listeners at branding matters to really absorb this. All you got to do is think about your own lab in your own house in your own family. No kid ever went to bed at night and said, Mom, could you please tell me a statistic? Exactly. Mom, can you? Can you explain the features, advantages and benefits in the product specs and right? No kid ever, ever, ever says that no kid ever wants to know about unique selling propositions. And I think what happens is that as adults, and we get into these left brain business worlds, we forget an important truth. The language, this is what I always introduce my talks with the very language of brand is metaphorical. It's meaningful, it's emotional, it's symbolic. Language of Business is logical, and linear and analytical, and mathematical and mechanical and factual. They're two different languages. So our goal with Big Little Legends is to introduce this whole other language so that people can see all this is how we're going to get and hold attention so that we can compete and stay viable for a long, long time.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that. No, I think that's so true. You know, you also talk about I've heard you say that marketing doesn't build great brands leaders do. And I think that was really interesting quote, because we just talked about marketing. And so why is that?

Gair Maxwell:

It's a leadership issue. For too many years. In my view, leaders, CEOs, head of marketing departments have abdicated the responsibility. They've kicked the can down the road, because of the brands that I speak of in the book. I've never seen a legend created any other way. Imagine my feeling one day, it was June of 2019. I was in Los Altos, California. And I do a video blog when I was traveling before the pandemic, I would study legends at different stops. While there I was at 2066 crest drive. That's the house with a garage, where Jobs and Wozniak launched apple. Wow, anyone can watch it on my YouTube channel. But what people won't see is this person didn't want to go on camera or even be photographed. But I'm talking about day two, employee number four. So when you think Apple you think of jobs, he's been gone for over a decade, who do you still think of? Who was the visionary that put all those pieces in place? Who created the ultimate comeback video? That 62nd iconic spot about? Here's the the crazy ones, The round pegs in the square holes. They're not following the rules, and they have no use for the status quo. He did 60 seconds Joelly and never talked about the computer.

Joelly Goodson :

Yup

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah. That's a leadership move.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, so when you say it's not Nestle marketing, it's the leaders. What is it that the leaders need to do? Do they need to get more in the forefront of their audience? Or that's I guess I'm trying to figure out when you talk about that?

Gair Maxwell:

That's a great question. Here's what leaders I'm glad you asked that, because I don't think anyone's ever asked it that way. And I did write about it in chapter 12. There's almost every question that could ever be asked about marketing. And I can tell you the chapter where this comes up

Joelly Goodson :

I love that! Well, you're obviously very passionate about it, you can tell so no surprise.

Gair Maxwell:

Here's why. The leader and again, I applaud you for asking, because no one's asked me. I've done a lot of podcasts. No one's asked this one. Well, that's why I try to be different. No, you're doing a great job. Because here's, here's what it comes down to. The leader has to recognize their own responsibility to find what I call the authentic swing. Now, I didn't make this up. Steven Pressfield is the writer who coined the phrase, the authentic swing. What it is, it's the hypothesis is this it's simple. Whether you like golf or not, has nothing to do with it. No two golf swings are the same. No two thumb prints are the same. No two snowflakes are the same. So metaphorically, the authentic swing is the expression of what it is that makes you the only one in the world. The story only you can tell. So Pressfield was the starving writer for like 30 years. But he was a golf caddy when he was a kid and a bit of a golfer and he coined the phrase, the authentic swing. And that was the core of what became his breakthrough novel and the breakthrough and the movie was the Legend of Bagger Vance. Okay, so the novel did very very well the movie not so much but hey, Robert Redford bought the movie.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I've heard of it. I've never seen it but I've heard of it.

Gair Maxwell:

But at the core of the story is the author Take swing. Well, that really impacted me on a very personal level because I'm the son of a former pro golfer.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, no kidding! Who's your dad?

Gair Maxwell:

Dad was born seven minutes from the First Tee at St. Andrews, Scotland. Okay, dad learned the game growing up at the home of golf, the old course he comes to Canada in 1957. When he's 17 years old to start his pro career. He wins over 100 tournaments, pro and amateur, but this is at a time when there's no money in the game. Like he had to work many part time jobs. And then finally he, he went through a period where he got very disillusioned and he left the game for well over a decade. Oh, Jim, Jim Maxwell. And Maxwell. Okay. Okay. So my point is, so he became kind of like the big fish in the small pond on the east coast of Canada, where, you know, we grew up. But my point is that all this time, Julie, I'm growing up, and I have this love hate relationship, not only with the game, but I've got a complicated relationship with my father, he could literally go out and shoot 69 without picking up a club for a year and I'm always struggling to break 100. So all the self imposed and i want i It's so important for me to say this, all the self imposed burden of expectations are on me, I did it to myself, my father had nothing to do with placing those expectations. He just wanted me to enjoy whatever I want to do enjoy. But for me, it was semi torture to go out and play golf. Okay, because of those expectations, totally self imposed. Where this comes full circle. I'm on a speaking tour of the United Kingdom. It's May 21. Oddly enough, 2016. And I think we've all had complicated relationships with our parents. I don't need to go into the drama of it. Oh, let's save that for another podcast. Another podcast. That's why you're gonna bring me back. That was the day, Joelly. Up until that day, I was completely ambivalent about both Scotland and golf. It meant nothing to me, can you? I hope that comes through loud and clear. But that day, you know, I'm there. And I'm looking around. And that's the day, I just started to think about remember, we talked about how opportunity just the door crack, I could picture what it was like to be dad at 15 1617. You know, I went to his school. I looked around, right? I just got a sense of it. Okay, a sense of that spirit, I put myself in his shoes. And then I made a point. From that day, when I go back to my home province of New Brunswick, I'm going to make sure we go out for one round, okay, just because, and you'll appreciate this how many rounds the dead and I have left. He's in his late 70s. He's getting older, slowing down a little bit. And I know this is a bit of a long story, but I want to see if I can't capture it. In 2019. On the annual visit back home, it's not just me and Dad. It's my son and my grandson, who at the time was 11. There's four of us. And we had done up these matching hats and shirts for the MGA tour. And we had put the crossed flags of Canada and Scotland on the sleeve. And when dad saw those shirts, and that logo and the whole thing about the four of us going out with the same attire. I've never seen that expression ever on his face. He was a very quiet guy. And but in that moment, I can tell you, his whole life's journey made sense. It was a long struggle. And now there he is, and he can see the future because there it is with his grandson and great grandson. Yeah. Well, believe it or not, I didn't know that there was anything significant statistically about this. But in subsequent years, here's what we've learned. My father, to the best of our knowledge is the only former pro golfer in the history of the world to have played in a four generational foursome and do it three years in a row. Think about it. Only 12 men ever walked on the face of the moon. But only one pro golfer has done this incredibly iconic feat. That speaks to longevity and it speaks to being an Iron Man type thing. How good you have to be to last dad's become a local hero. His story became front page news. There's a documentary that we're going to submit to the Golf Channel because it's only weeks away from completion. And that story totally never would have happened without recognizing, hey, everything only opens up a little bit. But it's that's the nature of the authentic swing, you got to be prepared to go into a place that you haven't gone into before.

Joelly Goodson :

So when you talk about the authentic swing from a business perspective, you're saying you have to go where no one else has gone before or where you've never gone before?

Gair Maxwell:

The authentic swing isn't learned. It's remembered it was already inside you. Jim Gilbert, Canada's huggable car dealer, was already a very nice guy.

Joelly Goodson :

So what's his authentic swing?

Gair Maxwell:

It comes from being the son of an orphan. Yeah, his dad was in about 20 orphanages, okay. And one of the big messages that he and his sister, the Jimena sister got from their father was this, always be nice to someone, even if they can't do anything for you, he went into a place that he already was right. And that's the thing you can only do you and what we see, and you'll appreciate this in your work, you'll see a lot of people trying to outmaneuver or pull some gimmick out or Yeah, and we don't think that I mean, that might be fine in you might even win short term, but we don't think that's how you build something legendary. We don't think that's how you build something that's going to last for generations. That's where we're planting the flag, if you will, or drawing the line in the sand. We're only interested in a framework and a formula that speaks to legendary status and what's required to get there.

Joelly Goodson :

Well, that's great. That's a great story. And I love that. Can you give some other tips to help create a legendary brand storytelling is a big one. What are some other things they can do?

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah, if you want a real practical tip, totally, it would be this stop talking about your products, services and expertise. Instead, brand marketing is all about creating a dialogue based on conversation, not the pitch. All right. So let me give you a pretty practical example of and then I'm just going to first thing that comes to mind of quite. I've got this client and they're great friends of ours out in Wisconsin, and they do architectural work there. They do construction, they do engineering, and they're just imagine how many companies are there like that out in the in the Midwest? There'll be 1000s. Okay. Yeah, but one of the things that we helped them develop and it's again, right out of chapter four, in their case was a physical icon. They've come out with their own food truck. Now, how many architectural construction engineering firms do know that have a food truck, they enrolled in our program, and that's what that was one of the big ideas we came up with was, and again, it was based on Jim PN because he loves to barbecue. He loves to be the guy at the burger. So the food truck Okay, great. Are you ready for it? Yeah, the food truck has a name, ace, A C E, architectural construction engineering. And the most gratifying thing to me is when I see ace out there at a job site, and it's cold in Wisconsin, and what are they doing? They're bringing coffee and breakfast sandwiches for guys on a job site. And they're posting pictures of that on the web, right? It's Instagrammable. It's Facebook bubble. You can tweet about this, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. What are they not talking about? They're not talking about their engineering degrees.

Joelly Goodson :

That is such a great ideas.

Gair Maxwell:

What are we not see we're creating stories, creating moments that reflect their culture, that again, without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, it reflects who they already were, this is just the physical expression of of what their story is. Can I give you a Branding Matter soundbite that this might

Joelly Goodson :

Of course!

Gair Maxwell:

Okay,

Joelly Goodson :

This is all about having fun at the end of the day.

Gair Maxwell:

This is clearly "Branding Matters". Sound bite in 3..2...1. The one who provides the market with the best stories and information is always going to slaughter the ones who just want to talk about products and services.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. So how does that play into the quality argument? Because I've heard you talk about the quality argument is that part of that?

Gair Maxwell:

There is no argument quality is table stakes. How many lawyers are there in Chicago?

Joelly Goodson :

You asking me?

Gair Maxwell:

I'm asking the rhetorical question. Whether it's lawyers in Chicago, by the way, there's 45,210 in Cook County, Illinois, whether it's real to Joey whether it's realtors in Calgary, whether it's you know, mortgage brokers here in London, Ontario, guess what everyone will say? They are of top quality. That's not the debate. You can't differentiate on the Q word. If that's your ticket to the ballpark, it's how you get in. And that's, it's assumed. We're assuming you're already good, right? So you can't create a thoroughly differentiated brand on top quality, because that's an assumption. So you've got to go beyond that. Otherwise, you're into marketing, spin and cliche around things like peace of mind, on time on budget. That takes no work at all. Yeah, best in class, best in class.

Joelly Goodson :

There are so many buzzwords out there that everybody uses all the time. We're the best in the industry. We have the best staff, we have the smartest, we have this. Yeah,

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's just more noise. So to come up with a completely different point of view. That's the real challenge. And that's why I said earlier. That's all on leadership, the leader has to be the one determined to find the answer. If the leader is not determined to find the answer, not curious. I've noticed leaders have four common characteristics. I've noticed this in my work. The leaders that do well with this type of brand strategy that we're talking about. They are by nature, they are curious, okay, they are courageous. And they have initiative, and they have vision. That's it. You know, this is the road less traveled, what we're talking about, but it's going to take a lot of curiosity, courage, vision and initiative to see it through.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that! You hear that all the time, especially about courage to is trying to, because people want to be safer. And if you look at all the most successful brands, none of them were safe, right? They all took risks. And they all when everyone else was zigging, they were zagging because they knew that was a road less traveled, but more chance that they were going to be noticed.

Gair Maxwell:

Can I give you a sneak peek? In fact, you'll be the first one to hear this on in the world in terms of a public forum. Okay. It's research for the next book. So there is going to be a follow up book. All right, our publisher, page two out of Vancouver is thrilled with how this first book is being received. So we've started mapping out what's the second book gonna look like? And even though I can guarantee it's at least two years, if not three away, but the research is starting now. Because that's how much will go into it. We've actually you just said something that triggered it. We've started researching, what is the cost of conformity? You said, it's, it's risky? They're, they're taking a chance? No, I think boring is the most risky move you can make. I couldn't agree with you more. Now, do you want the numbers, you actually got numbers? Now it's early, but this is what we're starting to research. What we're finding is, let's take a company, you know, we do a lot of work with tech Canada and Vistage International Executive peer advisory groups. So I'm using a baseline of a 50 person company that does 20 million a year in revenue, if they just do what everybody else does, can you picture it? Generally, their website language is the same, everything's the same. They use the same stock photography images, you can already picture what I'm talking about right now, their brand is totally don't have a brand. They just, it's all interchangeable with everybody else.

Joelly Goodson :

I call it loose leaf paper. Because if you take a pad of looseleaf paper, they all look the same, and none of them stand out.

Gair Maxwell:

I love that! That's it. Okay, so what what is it costing you? And you can please write down these numbers and share this and steal it if you want. But we actually figured out the number, it's $418,500 a year, because we figured out what is the marketing budget? What are you paying salaried people in your company, you have no real point of differentiation in terms of your messaging. So when you start to add up websites, hosting all the swag you buy, the golf tournaments you enter, right, you can just go on and on and on. It comes out to about $465,000 under the marketing tab. And if it's only 10% effective, really?

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, so that is the cost of?

Gair Maxwell:

Being the same as everybody else.

Joelly Goodson :

So the cost of not differentiating yourself is that?

Gair Maxwell:

Bingo!

Joelly Goodson :

Wow

Gair Maxwell:

The cost of your looseleaf brand. You can use this if you want please, for that. Right? If you're a loose leaf brand, and you're right. And if you're in that ballpark of 50 people running a $20 million company, it's gonna cost you $418,500 a year. It adds up over three years now you're into 1.2 million doing the same thing as everybody else.

Joelly Goodson :

And you know, I've had a lot of amazing leaders on and talking about branding and about differentiating yourself and how important it is and never more so than now, you know, you mentioned earlier about I mean back in the 19th century, but even not that long ago, especially before COVID When we didn't have as much competition as far as Social media goes in the sense that now I call it digital saturation. Everybody is online. And it you see you small businesses, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs big brands, we're all fighting. You know, you talk about the attention economy. So before we go, I just want to touch on with all that you've just shared. And then the pandemic hit, how has the pandemic affected the way brands differentiate themselves? And what do you think they need to do now post pandemic that they were doing? Like that worked for them before, but now isn't going to work for men anymore? Moving forward?

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah. Okay. I'll try and make this short and sweet. And it's so bang on. I'm so glad you asked, because did the rules change? Tab March of 2020? Yes, they did. I can summarize it in a quick phrase, digital first in person second, because you can't have any guarantee of getting your Salesforce out to see people in person anymore, especially. And I'm really talking generally about those b2b companies that because I run into a lot of those. All right. And so it comes back to knowing that the research phase on Google is now the maker break, before you even get to make your six figure proposal, you better have a digital footprint. That's worth watching. By saying that I mean, YouTube, okay. YouTube is the number you know, it's the number two search engine on the planet owned by Google. And I could go on and on and on how video is king, having said that, if for whatever reason, YouTube's not in your wheelhouse, then you better develop a podcast, do something, because you've got to be relevant in the digital space, you got to put a human face in the digital space, somehow, some way? Because it's not going to be your glossy brochure. It's not your yellow page ad. That's all gone. That's a yellow page. Exactly. Yeah. So we've gone through more change in marketing in the last two years than we did in the last 20. And I think what the pandemic, and I'm sure other folks have talked about this, all the pandemic did was accelerate what was going to happen anyway.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, that's what everybody says. Right?

Gair Maxwell:

So hopefully, as we wrap this up, you know, and we talked about it in chapter nine, the importance of becoming your own media company, like that's what you're doing right now, Jolie, you're your own media company with a media property called branding matters, you are creating consistent original content. Well, that's exactly the same strategy as what Red Bull does. It's the exact same, a little bit more of a budget than I have more of a budget might have a more of a budget, but the principle is still the same. Right? So yeah, that's something that we talk about that you've got to get over yourself, whatever personal reservations you have, or personal biases, and just recognize that the number one factor to grow your business and brand right now, and it's practical, it's doable. It's well within possible is how much of a priority are you going to place on producing original content?

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, and I want to I want to elaborate on that because 100% and this is what makes it even tougher is that before it used to be you need to have you need to make videos, right? Everybody says you got to make videos on social media, whether you're on Instagram or now even as he's probably say on LinkedIn, and you have to make videos because now everybody's making videos. So again, it's that differentiation part is that okay? Everybody's making videos, well, don't make videos, or reels are popular right now. Right on Instagram, everybody's doing reels. And you see people copying, everybody else's reels are on tick tock. And again, now they're falling to assimilation, doing what they're told to do. But still not getting that concept of like, you need to use this medium. But you need to differentiate yourself and do it differently than anybody else. Because that's how you're gonna get noticed. Right?

Gair Maxwell:

Exactly. First, it's your message. What is your original message before you go to the media strategy first tactics later. And that's what we always recommend with everyone we work with is figure out your story, what's gonna be your brand strategy and story. Great. Once you have figured that out. Now, you start producing content in alignment with that strategy. Otherwise, you're gonna be chasing every dog and fire hydrant. Known demand.

Joelly Goodson :

Exactly. And then that's where the authentic swing comes in. Right?

Gair Maxwell:

Bingo! You know what? You brought it full circle, all the way through.

Joelly Goodson :

Those are all amazing points. And there's so much more that we could go over. I know. I can't believe it's time is gone so quickly. It's been so great talking to you. Will you come back when you do your second book?

Gair Maxwell:

I'd be honored to yeah, there's been a lot of fun. I love how you poke around and ask questions that nobody else is asking. That's great.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, well, thank you. I'm really inquisitive. Like you said, that's one of it's my nature, right? I'm very curious and inquisitive. So before we Go, can you tell us the name of your book and where everybody can find it?

Gair Maxwell:

Yeah, it's Big Little Legends. We like to call it the little black book with magical cover Big Little Legends. And it is it's four parts 12 chapters with 36 Practical takeaways. It starts in the Louvre, the whole book starts the story at the Mona Lisa effect. And then we take that theme through. And then as it comes full circle, it finishes appropriately in St. Andrews, Scotland. People learn more about my dad and our origins, but also how did the most iconic golf course in the world become the most iconic and so it's it's an interesting ride through some history. But also it's I love that. It's the kind of stories totally they're never going to change, though. They will always be relevant.

Joelly Goodson :

The full title of your book is Big Little

Legends:

How everyday leaders build irresistible brands. Is that correct?

Gair Maxwell:

Oh, yeah.

Joelly Goodson :

So that's, that's really important. Because everyday leaders is key, right? You don't need to be a big brand to be able to create a great legend. Right? Well, thank you again, Gair. And just last thing, you're on social media. People want to connect with you personally. Where can they find you?

Gair Maxwell:

Oh, I'm the easiest guy to find. It's Ngaire GA IR. You're on the air with gear who used to have hair. Yeah. Garymaxwell.com. I'm on Facebook. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on Instagram. Our YouTube channel is very active. I welcome any and all who want to connect and stay in touch.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, well, you're so lovely. It's really been a pleasure talking to you. And I hope we'll stay in touch.

Gair Maxwell:

We will. Thank you.

Joelly Goodson :

All right, talk soon. Okay, bye,

Gair Maxwell:

Bye.

Joelly Goodson :

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the conversation and maybe learned a few things to help you with your branding. But most of all, I hope you've had some fun. This show is a work in progress. So please remember to rate and review on whatever platform you listen to podcasts. And if you want to learn more about me and what I do to help my clients with their branding, feel free to reach out to me on any of the social channels under you guessed it, Branding_Badass. Branding Matters was produced, edited and hosted by Joelly Goodson, also me. So thanks again and until next time, here's to all you badasses is out there!