Branding Matters

Dale Denham - Make a Difference and You’ll Make The List

May 06, 2022 Branding Badass Episode 63
Branding Matters
Dale Denham - Make a Difference and You’ll Make The List
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Dale Denham, President and CEO of the Promotional Products Association International - better known as the PPAI. Dale’s also the man behind #Online18 - a list he created in 2014 highlighting the most influential social media voices in the Promotional Products Industry. And I'm excited to share, I made the list this year thanks to my podcast!

I invited Dale to be a guest on my show to talk about #Online18. I wanted to know what inspired him to start this prestigious list. And I was curious to learn how he decides who gets on it every year. And finally, as President of the PPAI, I was curious to get Dale’s POV on the role promotional products play in creating brand awareness.

💥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. Welcome to season two of Branding Matters. My guest today is Dale Denham, President and CEO of the Promotional Products Association International, better known as PPAPI. Dale is also the man behind Online18 - a list he created in 2014, highlighting the most influential social media voices in the promotional products industry. And I'm excited to share I made it on this list this year with my little podcast Branding Matters. And I'm so excited to have Dale join us. I invited him to be a guest because I wanted to talk about Online18. I wanted to know what inspired him to start this prestigious list to begin with. And I was curious to know how he decides who gets on the list every year, and how he decides who to eliminate. And finally, as President of the PPAI, I was curious to get Dale's point of view on the role he thinks promotional products play in creating brand awareness. Dale, I'm so thrilled to have you here today. Welcome to Branding Matters!

Dale Denham:

Well, thanks for having me. It's nice to be here. I've enjoyed listening to some of your podcasts. It's nice to be on this side of it now.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, you're so sweet. Well, it's so nice having you and it's so funny how life is you know, I don't know if you know the story I've ever told you how I even learned about you and learn about your online ATM list. I was just working and I got a message from some person I didn't even know. And he's like, Hey, Julie, congratulations on being on deals online. 18. And I was like, what? And I thought he had the wrong person. Right? I thought it was spam or anything. And I'm like, What are you talking about? What less? And so he sends me the link. And then I see it. And I was like, oh my god, what is this and I started reading it. And it was so funny. And then I was just like, who knew it even existed. So what is Dale's Online18 list?

Dale Denham:

Well, it's the online, the 18 people who I believe are doing the best job online within the promotional products industry engaging with their clients while telling a story. And it's not not 100% Perfect. And the difficulty of finalizing the 18. I also want to have a variability. So you were selected because of the podcast and the angle and the approach you've taken to it. And the consistency, which is you see a lot of people get into podcasting. And then all of a sudden, it goes from weekly to monthly to quarterly to never, but it wasn't just your consistency, it was the quality of what you were putting out and things that I found interesting. And I believe others found interesting. And so it's looking for people who are doing it consistently, but also people who are new. So I try to keep that list fresh with at least a third as sort of the target of people that I don't want to force people off. But I forced myself to find at least six new people that should be on there every year, and hold up the other 18. And it's harder and harder. The longer you're on the list, the harder it is to stay on that list. So it's a list of people that are just doing social, right. And it involves companies now where it used to only be individuals, but it's still largely focused around individuals. And that's partially because I believe, very difficult to connect with people on social as a brand. Unless your taco bell or you know, somebody who's huge out there like that. So that's what is 18 influencers in the promotional products industry that are doing it.

Joelly Goodson :

Well, that's so awesome. Thank you very much for having my little podcast on your list. I'm totally honored. And like I said, I was completely shocked. So when did you start doing this? And what inspired you to start this list?

Dale Denham:

I think it's around 2014. It might have been 2015. And I just was I was doing a lot of seminars to help people understand how to do social media, right, as a individual who's also wanting to promote your business. So many people back then were just selling you know, they're posting Oh, buy this, and here's my own sale. And, and I was just frustrated by that, because I didn't like it. And I knew that customers didn't like it. So as I kept doing these presentations and people's eyes would light up of Oh, yeah. But well what better way to communicate to people the right way to do it than to give them examples. And so I started looking at the people that I was most engaged with, but I forced myself out of my comfort zone and would ask other people, and I came up with probably 50 plus 60 plus people that I thought were doing pretty well. And then I narrowed that list down to 18. And the reason why it's not 18 Online is because it just sounded good. There's there's no method to the madness other than, you know, top 25 is too easy, Top 20 Top 10 All that and you don't want it to be so big. Well maybe you want to be big. My purpose wasn't to create a list to get all these people talking about The list, if you do that you make it 50 or 100 people, right? It was to force it into who's really doing something unique, and well that other people could learn from. And that's still the purpose today, it started out with that intensity. But now people kind of understand how to use social, but not everybody's doing it consistently. And a lot of people miss the engagement factor. And so that's a really big factor in how I looked at the initial list, and still to this day, and it's been working, I didn't know that it would last I didn't know if anybody would care about it at all, thought I would just use the list, even if nothing else in my presentations, and the first year it took off and gotten better and better both the quality list and the awareness of the list and the meaning of the list. You know, you didn't know what it was. But then you were like, wait, I made this list. And then you started looking into like, you know, actually, within our industry, it's a pretty I don't want to call it too big of a deal. I don't overstate it. But it's it is sort of the pinnacle of online engagement. Right now, this is the list and it was never set out to be that it just turned out to be that way.

Joelly Goodson :

That's so great. And how do you find the people? I mean, how did you find me?

Dale Denham:

So the new people like you, I usually find through somebody who's referred you. So I go back to previous online 18 list every year. And I email everybody who's doing something that impresses you. And then I take that and I look at that. And I put it into my spreadsheet and I rate different things and have you know, a lot of it's subjective, right. It's not all objective. There's

Joelly Goodson :

Is there a committee?

Dale Denham:

Well, so last year, I was with a different firm. And I published it with PPAI strictly because of some other changes where I had been publishing it. And this year, I'm now the CEO of PPAI instead of a different firms. And there was a big debate in my own mind. And internally, I asked them people like, Is this my list or PPAI's list now, and there's a pro and a con for both. And I think we're leaning towards changing it to PPIs list going forward. So some of the criteria would change. But I'll still have a significant influence. But as of right now, there is no true team of people making the final decisions. But I have some people that I go to. And this year, I had a lot more input from my editorial and marketing team said, you know, who do you think is doing it right on this list? And how do I have an order and they helped make the list better. And that was really useful. I'd never had that before, because I used to keep it very, very secret. And I did this year as well. But it was nice having them give some input.

Joelly Goodson :

That's amazing. That's so fun. And you launch it in Vegas. Is that right? Is that where you made the big announcement?

Dale Denham:

So this year, I did not in previous years, I had been doing it around Vegas prior to Vegas so that as we get to Vegas, we can go Oh, congratulations. And my favorite year when we announced that just before Vegas was charity Gibson had gotten the number two spot on the online 18. And she went and got a shirt printed with the poop emoji. You know, something about I'm number two on Dale Benhams online 18 list and I just, I loved that embracing and the creativity of Yeah, I didn't get number one. But I'm number two. And she was funny with it. And she did a lot and engagement. And that's another part of it. It's about engaging online and offline, right. So you're much better if you can create your connections and establish them in person or reinforce them in person. And she does and did a really good job. But this year, we did it with our direct to you, which was our online event. So we have our in person event in Vegas the second week of January. And this year, it was maybe the February 12 I think or something like that. And we launched it online. And that was the first time I'd ever done it sort of live and announced it before we published it.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, that's so funny. Well, I just slid right in there number 18. Barely made it by the skin of my teeth. And what's cool about that is, you know, I get people who say to me, thank you for introducing me to this person. And I hadn't known about them. And so that's fun and rewarding for me for people to go, wow. Now I'm listening to this podcast that I wasn't listening to before. And I really enjoy it. So I really liked that. out to me and we've connected so you're absolutely right. It is building connections with so many people and I love doing that. So that's great. Okay, well, I want to back up a little bit because you mentioned you are the president of ppi and you're pretty new. You just started in August, right last August?

Dale Denham:

Exactly.

Joelly Goodson :

Right. Well, congratulations. That's exciting. For those who don't know, let's talk a little bit about who you are. Who is Dale Denham? So I know that you live in Florida, you went to university there. Did you graduate with a business degree? Is that what you graduated in?

Dale Denham:

Correct.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, so then what did you do after a university? What was your first job when you finished college as they call it down in southern Florida?

Dale Denham:

All right. Yeah, so I worked my way through college, and my boys are right now doing the college. But one of them's in college for his first year and the other ones about to go in college. And I'm like, man, my parents didn't drive me around for tours and all this. And there was no, I just did it. But I worked my way through college, my first job of a career position, actually was in sales in telemarketing. And within a few years while I was, I think it was 19 years old, and I was managing 150 people, most of which obviously, were older than me, by the time I hit 19, and was managing a call center of 150 people with three different shifts. And when I say three, there was a day shift and night shift. But there's also an afternoon shift. And I learned so much about sales about business. And actually, that's where I sort of fell in love with technology, too. And it was a great job that I hadn't even graduated yet. I was just very good in sales. And they gave me opportunity. And that was my first job. But it was in college, and then ironically took a promotion from that firm that moved me out to Irving, Texas, and make a long story short, the day I was moving, they fired my boss, who was the main reason I was willing to move to Texas. So I moved back. But the irony about that is, PPI is headquartered in Irving, Texas. So 30 years ago, I had moved out here and moved back. And now here 30 years later, I'm back.

Joelly Goodson :

Too funny, talk about foreshadowing. You know, it's funny you talk about working during university I worked all through university to I was a bartender and a waitress, I worked at the campus bar, which is great place to meet people. And I tell people that was my first job because you know what you're in the customer service world. And tips were like commission, right? I mean, I would get big tips. I mean, university students kind of suck at tipping. But then they weren't, well, it's true, they have no money. But in the summer, I ended up working at a great place in Montreal, where I'm from on the water. And that's what I did. And I look back now. And there's so many sort of interpersonal skills that you learn when you have to work with the public back then that I find are so beneficial for me today, you know, working in sales and working with clients. So I always say that was my real first sales job. Yeah, for those reasons. And so then, when did you get into the promo world and what inspired you to get into it?

Dale Denham:

So after I left that company that moved me here, and I decided to leave? That was in the middle of the 91 recession, I think, or 90 Around that time, it was 1990 ish. And there was a recession. Well, you know, I was a hotshot, 20 year old who had been managing 150 people, I knew I was going to get a great job. And the beauty of that story is I had a great boss, and I'll come back to that later. So I took a job back in sales, selling catalogs to firms like yours, that included promotional products, that you would hand to your buyers of promotional products. And it was a consolidated catalog. And we had lots of them. And I started there and quickly was doing great in sales, but quickly realized they were moving too slow in the technology side, and they gave me an opportunity to still be in sales and work on their technology. And so it was sort of my that would be sort of my first job out of college in a way it was selling catalogs to distributors. So you could have them with your logo on it and hand them to a buyer so they could see for the Internet, all the things that we had to offer.

Joelly Goodson :

I remember those catalogs, I don't know if you notice I've been in the industry over 20 years. I mean, now people don't even ask for catalogs. But I remember at the time getting them and having logos on them. And so yeah, I remember though, so how did you go from that into the promo world?

Dale Denham:

Well, so that was then I got into that company selling catalogs. And then we started a startup business and that of a technology company, basically competing with the advertising specialty Institute on different things like research tools and marketing tools for distributors, and created one of the first marketing standalone tools. So we built that business. And then I eventually decided to leave and I won't bore you with the details of that. And then I actually joined the company that had been competing with advertising specialty Institute, and ran one of their startup businesses and quickly took over all their technology, and quickly became an executive in the company from 2000 to 2010.

Joelly Goodson :

And so what did you think about the industry when you got into it? I mean, it's really unique, and I didn't know much about it until I joined. And then once you're in it, you see so I'm curious to know, I mean, were there any surprises that you found when you started in the promo world?

Unknown:

I think the biggest thing that most everybody comes into is how friendly everybody is. And that's one of the beauties of this industry. You have competitors that are friends. So you may be competing for the same business, but you can do it respectfully and most of us believe you can grow the pie. And that's good for everybody because there's so many people who aren't fully using the products that we have available, and even gifting so our industry is about, I'm gonna say around $23 billion last year, the year before was 20 in the year before that was 26. Right. But there's a gifting industry, that's $300 billion. Now, let's say half of that is gift cards. That means the other half are products, of which, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of those are going out without any sort of logo on there. So I'm sending somebody a gift, without taking a moment to put a brand on that gift, or at least in a subtle way, making sure the brand is a part of the gift. And so the surprising to me then was, how friendly and how many people could be collaborative, even though they're competitors. But the more I understand about the industry, and the multitude of growth and the lack of use by some businesses, the more I realized why we can all be so friendly and get along so well. So that was the big surprise.

Joelly Goodson :

You know, it's funny, I've really only I mean, I worked in advertising for six years I was on I worked in the agency side before I got into this industry. And really, this is all I know. And you're not the first person that said that I've heard a lot of people say that makes me wonder about other industries, people not as friendly or is like, is there not that same camaraderie?

Unknown:

Don't get me wrong, we've got people in this industry who aren't friendly competitors. They're cutthroat. But but it's not. It's not the predominant. It's the flip side. And that's true. I mean, I know people who have helped their local competitor win business that they would like to win just because that's the way they do business.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah. Well, it's nice to hear like I said, You're not the first and I've heard that from so and I agree to I mean, there's anything I miss is going to the shows because those are like reunions right? Getting together once a year and seeing all your friends every year. And there's some friends I've known for over 20 years. So when COVID hit and not being able to do that it was kind of tough not seeing everybody, what does PPAPI stand for?

Dale Denham:

Promotional Products Association International

Joelly Goodson :

Promotional Products Associate International. Okay. And the other thing I just want to touch on, I'm being devil's advocate here. So for all those people that say they want to get rid of promotional products, because they are waste. I hear that a lot. We're living in a time right now, where sustainability is so important. Everybody's talking about it. Everybody wants to try to save the planet any way they can. And they hate disposable anything. So how do you challenge that in a way that to anyone who's listening? Because probably going like, Well, yeah, I don't want crap. You hear that all the time. Don't give me crap. Don't give me stuff that's wasteful. So how do you tackle that?

Dale Denham:

First of all, I'll say I agree with you. I don't want crap either, right? I agree with the buyers and the recipients who don't want crap. And I think our industry gets unfairly tagged as having crap, because sometimes the clients purchase the wrong product for the wrong reason. So there are times where I don't want to use any particular product because I don't want to upset somebody to the product. Where a widget is extremely appropriate to reinforce a message. And in fact, I got something the other day that you would consider disposable. I was in a all day strategy meeting hosted by somebody outside of our industry. And they gave me this little toy that you have fidget toy. And it's plastic. And it has no purpose other than to fidget, right? Like all the fidget toys that my daughter spent so much money on over the last couple of years during the craze. But the reality is, during that meeting, I use that a lot to fidget. And it helped me stay focused. Did it serve a purpose? Yes, it did. So therefore, it's not waste. And in fact, ironically, it's a silly little toy, I still have it in my bag and carry it with me in case I need to fidget. So the right product at the right place at the right time is not waste. So that's number one. Number two people are buying whether it's a mug or a shirt or anything like that, that we're giving away. But where it becomes waste is if the logo is obnoxious, and somebody doesn't want to use it because you've just over branded your company. So a woman was in my office today with a giant mug that said Reese's on it. Well, she had a receipt loyalty, it's her favorite candy, right? It was branded with their colors and everything. So to her, she wants that. But if I gave her a mug from your company, no matter how beautiful it is not gonna matter to her as much. So how do you create a mug that you give to somebody they use where your logo reinforces some message, whether it's sustainability or whatever. So it's the right product with the right logo, the right place the right time. And then I will say there's a lot of things that we do, they're absolutely sustainable. For example, I hate single use plastic water bottles, right? Our industry has all sorts of solutions to reduce that and I forget the statistics and I should not top my head, but we are saving many millions of water bottles if people use the products. So I don't believe there's ways there's a lot of our production partners that are making sure we're sustainable sourcing sustainably so you may go buy from XYZ company, that product may not have been sourced sustainably. So we're putting a big emphasis in our industry on making sure that we are sourcing sustainably and including packaging is a big problem as well.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, absolutely. Do you know where the fidgets spinner came from? Do you know where it started? You talked about usefulness. So it started, it was a toy that was developed for stress first given to children to help with their anxiety. And then it quickly went into the promo world. And I will say, with that, I actually agree with you, those were very popular because there was a use to them. And I think that's the key is that, you know, you want to have things that are useful. And I think you can create brand awareness with items. Whenever I work with my client what they want, you want to make sure that not only is it working with what they're trying to achieve with their campaign, but it's also useful because it's things that are just cool for the sake of cool and have no use that really are the ones that are crap and.

Unknown:

I completely agree. Our research, year after year, shows that usefulness is the most important characteristic of a promotional product,

Joelly Goodson :

And then people will throw it away. Like you say that, but I you know, I don't think they do. I think they keep them and look, I'm looking on your desk right now behind you. This seems to be a football there was something on that. I'm curious to know what that is. And how long have you had that?

Dale Denham:

Well, that's a football that is a promotional product. That is a Buccaneer football, I'm a Buccaneers fan. And so that's from the first time they won the Super Bowl back in 2002. So I've had it since 2002. And you'll probably never get rid of that. No, I actually have five of them. Just

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, so that's great. If you're someone out only one. there who's listening who has a business and you're looking to buy some swag, promotional products, would you recommend that they work with suppliers that are part of the PPAI Association versus not?

Dale Denham:

Yeah, selfishly of course,

Joelly Goodson :

Ha! ya I know I know that

Dale Denham:

We have certain requirements with product safety awareness for the production partners. We have certifications that you can become a certified specialists in our industry and things like that. So in addition to being a part of PPAI it's what we'll call micro degrees or micro credentials do you have helps you and clients should be looking for those? Right.

Joelly Goodson :

So what made you decide to become president? How do you become president of PPAI? Are you voted in? Or do you apply? Or how does that work?

Unknown:

So I was a volunteer for five years. So Senior Vice President at a another firm similar to yours, that was a $250 million distributor for product. And while there, I was a volunteer, and I was voted on to the Board of Directors, which is a non paid position. So from 2015 to 2020, I served and at one time, I was the board chair. So the CEO of PPAPI reports into the board. And the main relationship is with the board chair on a regular basis. So at that time, I was a volunteer unpaid, I loved my job. And I was not planning on leaving, I worked for a great company, a great family, and the previous CEO left during COVID. And they started a search. And immediately I was one of the high people on the list because I had just been chair a couple of years ago. And so I knew a lot about it. I knew about the industry for so long. But I said no, I love what I'm doing and, frankly, wasn't sure I wanted to get into running in association with all the challenges we have facing us. And so what ultimately made me do it was I saw the opportunity. And I thought I could actually make a difference. And as much as I was making a difference where I was it was with a company that about 1000 people in it. So now I'm impacting 100,000 people. So my company here PPI is you know, 50 plus employees is not 100 plus. And so I have less people reporting to me, but I'm actually responsible for more companies today than I was before and more revenue and helping people be successful. And so far, it's been a good decision, the exactly the kinds of things that we need to be doing my skill set plays into, but it was a recruiting call, basically, and conversations with board members who convinced me to look at the opportunity.

Joelly Goodson :

What's your mission for PPAI?

Unknown:

So that is one of the fun things we did our strategic planning, after I started, I give the Board credit for holding off. And our mission is really about elevating the industry. And that that's not just from a marketing perspective, it's to make sure that the industry grows, not I don't mean revenue wise. But going back to CSR, it's very easy just to sell product. And that's what many people just want to do. They just want to get to the next order and get to next door. And so we want to elevate the industry, both in reality, meaning make it so people are using sustainable packaging and sustainable products and all the important things there. But then also making sure we're telling that story. So back to your question about should I use a PPI supplier partner? Yes, you should be working with ppi people because we're doing that to help them to help you, then we want to market that and we want to be the voice of the industry. So we actually want your clients who are listening this podcast to be interacting with us, but not because we want them to buy from us because we don't sell to them. That's not our market. But we want to them to have education from us. So they know, to ask about sustainability, to understand what options are in the industry. And we want to remind them about the proper way to use a product and the proper way not to, you can do that. And everybody can do that. But if we're out there with the primary voice, then we're amplifying what you're doing and or you're amplifying what we're doing. So we want to be the voice of the industry worked with both within the industry, but also to the clients who need to use our products and need to use them even more effectively than they do today.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow, that's really interesting. I didn't realize that. So how do you plan on doing that?

Unknown:

So we've launched an effort called promotional products work, we used to have something called promotion products work week. But now we're focusing, we built the website. And it's I use a concept called minimum viable product, that's partially an IT term, but you build it and then you grow from there based on feedback rather than trying to get it all perfect. So we have that site that's been launched, if you've got a promotional products worked out, or you'll see we're talking about successful stories, what's what's the next month that you need to be thinking about that could impact you where you might want to do a promotion around it. But we're also having an expo online where you can bring your clients to see products from the myriad of partners that you buy through and work with, to fulfill the orders. And they can engage with you and the partners, but they also get education from us. So right now it's about that event in that website. And it'll open up new doors, we have been going to under a different campaign advertising week and ideas like that, where we spoke at specific events, we're trying to get much bigger than that now.

Joelly Goodson :

That's great. I love that I can't wait to do that. And it's all virtual, it's all going to be done online?

Dale Denham:

Correct. And the first one is a sort of a, I'll call it a preview event on May 18. So it's our first one. So we're setting expectations low. It's, we've used the platform before, it's the same platform we use for industry events. But this is the first time we're doing it with clients. So yes, you can bring your clients to that event. And they can engage and get the education all online. And that's one of the beauties of this, there's a lot of small sort of regional shows where clients can interact with promotional products, people, but most people don't want to drive an hour or two and spend an hour or two out of their office looking at promotional products. So it either has to be right in their backyard, or they have to have very specific needs. So this increases the reach dramatically for you to be able to bring your clients to the vent, and then still take them to the local events that Danny Mark might have, or others might have that you might take them to.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow, that's very cool. You know, this podcast is called Branding Matters. I'm very passionate about branding, I talked about all time. And we've had cover I've had conversations with people in our industry. You know, you mentioned selling a few times I heard you say I've talked to people about is selling going to continue? Or is it changing because people are more aware they have Google they can find out information at their fingertips about things. And one of the reasons I started this podcast was to really help businesses, whether you're a solopreneur, or a small business owner, marketer, understand how important it is to have branding when you're trying to quote unquote, sell yourself because really, you're trying to sell yourself first, right? I think the product or service kind of comes second. It's about selling yourself. And that's where branding comes in. And so promotional products or branded merchandise or swag, or all the different names that you want to call it, what role do you think they have for businesses to create that brand awareness or create brand equity? What kind of a role do you think they play?

Dale Denham:

First, let me say I agree with you strongly that branding matters. I love the name. And I think you know, in sales, if you have a personal brand, it is so much easier to sell. So if I am known as a salesperson, well, that's not very useful. But if I'm known as somebody like you, who cares about brands and knows how to brand businesses, well, now I don't have to sell my sales become more of a service, it's still selling, you know, your job is still to remake get in front of people and remind them it's still selling but it's a much different kind of sale. It's one where if people are asking you to sell them, and that's where I think branding matters super well, because sales is never going to go away. But I'm a big fan of Seth Godin in the permission marketing concept. And, you know, no one wants to be interrupted, nobody wants to be sold to. So branding creates that opportunity to give you the chance to sell or tell your story that then gives you the chance to sell. So as far as how promotional products are involved in branding, I can't stress how important they are. Because every other brand opportunity you have, whether it's TV advertising, billboard advertising, all of those things, they they go away digital advertising goes away. Now you can repeat it over and over and over, but it eventually isn't in front of them. I've got this mug on my desk with my logo that's in front of me all the time. I've got a coaster, and I have these not because they're promotional products. I have them because they're useful back to what we're saying before. If you can get space on Somebody's shirt, or back, or in their car, in their kitchen or in their office. That's the branding opportunity for even something as simple as the magnet on the refrigerator unless you have a stainless steel that doesn't really allow you to put magnets on them anymore. But that's that's reminding them every day to call that pizza shop. That's the people I buy my pizza from subconsciously that seen that over and over? It's one of the best branding opportunities you absolutely have. But you do still have to use the right product in the right way.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I love that. And you know, I had, I don't know if you know, Jay and Jeff from Tacos with Jay & Jeff, they were on and we, we had a blast! They were so funny. And we had a really good conversation about this. And, you know, we talked about how you don't even have to put a logo on things anymore. Now you can be creative and play really creative saying or if you have a tagline or if you have a hashtag that you're trying to promote? Well, we both are very passionate about this, obviously. And we could go on and on. But I want to quickly talk about COVID. Because I'd be remiss not to. So do you think COVID has changed our industry in a positive way?

Dale Denham:

You know, every industry has been changed somewhat positively and somewhat negatively. I think the biggest thing that it did is it forced a lot of people to move forward with technology like zoom and other things that they would have not done in any other way and would have taken five years to get the advantage of the technology. And not just that, but teams and all sorts of different things, getting people to be able to work from home has been a really valuable part of COVID for many, many industries. I think if I look at one of the specific things that most people may not see as a positive, and including your clients listening to this, is it actually forced people to sort of pare back the number of choices of products, that they have an inventory. So you used to be able to offer 15 colors of a mug that now maybe you're only five or stored in inventory domestically. And you could argue that's bad. But I also argue that that's good, because sometimes too much choice creates indecision, and can also create waste, I think it's really made people take a look at their processes and go, you know, let's do this, right. And I also think, for better for worse, people had to make some tough personnel decisions that they wouldn't have made, which created a more efficient operation for them. And frankly, most of those people did pretty well, due to the number of jobs that ended up being available and everything. So I look, I wish COVID hadn't happened. And I don't think that the industry itself is super positively impacted in any way other than what most businesses have experienced as a positive impact. And it's really more about leveraging technology in ways that we would not have

Joelly Goodson :

I totally agree with you. I mean, it's been really tough for a lot of reasons, you know, especially on kids, I have two, you have four kids. So I have two teenagers, you know, there's been tons and tons of negative and death and sickness and all the rest of it. But I do agree with you, you know, it's funny, you talked about technology, if you didn't accelerate your technology, you weren't going to be able to survive. And so I think people had no choice. And through that efficiency has been what's come out of it. I see that with my clients, I see that with our business. And I've talked to other people. And they all say the same thing. They're like it just it made us more efficient in a lot of ways.

Dale Denham:

And that's one of our other major goals is to continue that there's still a lot more work to do. So we want to help you and others become more efficient. And if you go back to two years ago, unlike previous issues that happen in the economy, it used to be salespeople were always the people that were protected in the downturn in 2020, and March 2020. In April in May, when all the layoffs were going on for most companies. Technology was one area that didn't get touched this time. It was salespeople getting laid off because there was nobody to sell to technology people were in high demand. So it's reinforces your point, technology became much more important through COVID.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, crazy. Before we go. I do have one more question, though. You've shared a lot with us today. What's one thing Dale that most people don't know about you that they would be surprised to hear those on the spot or anything?

Unknown:

Those who know me would not be surprised about anything I might say. I could tell you some pretty crazy embarrassing things, you know, but I would say one of the things that most people wouldn't know is that I'm a black belt in karate. Now, in fairness, I got that when I was like 18, not 13. But the last time I practice was like 18. But I used to be able to take a pretty good hit and give a pretty good hit. And technically you never lose your black belt so I can continue to say I'm a black belt.

Joelly Goodson :

Good for you. That's great. My sister in law is a black belt and she's like five feet. She's this little five foot but yeah,

Unknown:

Great, great discipline. It was a great experience. I'm glad I did it and not something I said I don't do today but I'm a big fan of what it does both youth and as long as you want to stay involved in it.

Joelly Goodson :

Have you ever got cornered and in a dark alley? Would you be able to tap into your black belt skills and fend them off?

Dale Denham:

I would. But given how old I am now, by man, I hope but I wouldn't have. I don't know that I would actually do anything other than make them matter.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, too funny. Well, that's very cool. That's interesting. I didn't know that. Well, thank you so much. It's been so great. So if people want to learn more about you, are you on social media at all?

Dale Denham:

Yeah, I'm all over the place. But I'd say where I'm spending my time lately has been LinkedIn. And that's the best place I typically post something every week to two weeks specific about the industry. I'm also on Twitter, but not as active and same thing with Facebook and Instagram. So LinkedIn is the best place to follow or connect with me.

Joelly Goodson :

And it's Dale Denham. D.E.N.H.A.M. Right? Yep.

Dale Denham:

If you go LinkedIn slash i n slash Dale Denham, I got that name because I was paying attention way back when?

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, how long have you been on LinkedIn?

Unknown:

2005, 2002? something around, whenever. I mean, it was pretty early on.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, same with me. I've been on a long time. And it's amazing. I've talked to people about how much it's changed and grown. And, you know, I like. I like where it's at right now. It's a great business tool for a lot of different reasons. It's no longer a resume tool. It's now a great connecting tool. Yeah, absolutely. When I talk to people that aren't, I'm like, you're missing an opportunity. Definitely. So I agree wiht you.

Dale Denham:

especially to brand yourself. And I used to teach classes on that. Like, if I meet you for the first time, the first place I'm gonna look is your LinkedIn profile. And what does that say about your personal brand?

Joelly Goodson :

Absolutely. And that could be a whole other conversation because 100% agree with you. Well, thank you again, I look forward to meeting you in person hopefully soon. Maybe either in Calgary or Texas, or one of the shows possibly.

Dale Denham:

Same here. I look forward to it.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, thank you. All right. Well, we'll talk again soon. Bye

Dale Denham:

thank you. 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 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 out there