Episode 77 : Using Customization To Create Lifelong Loyalty

Join us as we discuss: The easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, Photographers, and Ditchers – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] How to Turn a Negative Experience into a Lifelong Customer

Many people look forward to Amazon Prime Day, scouting for goods that have been placed on a wishlist and then getting ready to finally purchase the coveted item. After eagerly anticipating Prime Day, Dan purchased some new pots and pans, waited for them to arrive, and finally received them – only to discover that one of the pots had a shattered lid.

First, he tried to call the manufacturer to return the set. Sadly, Dan couldn’t find the name of the company anywhere! Next, he called Amazon. When even Amazon couldn’t find the manufacturer of the set, without hesitation they accepted responsibility for the shattered lid and refunded the purchase price. No questions asked, no receipt necessary.!

It was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that they [Amazon] are the greatest company on this planet.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of Experience This! Show podcast

When you give your customer the benefit of the doubt (like Amazon did with Dan) you not only honor their investment in doing business with your company, but you quickly neutralize a potentially negative experience. Sometimes, treating a customer this way can actually convert them from disgruntled purchaser to lifelong advocate.

Instead of focusing on the lost dollars that stem from one negative experience, consider the lifetime value of the customer and how taking the time to treat them right early on has the potential to build a long term customer relationship. When you treat your customers as friends, the benefits of that relationship will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

[Dissecting the Experience] Customizing and Personalizing Imagery To Create Connection

While scrolling through his Twitter feed, Dan, came across a fascinating thread/story shared by Rex Sorgatz. Rex logged into his Chase Bank account one day and was greeted by a picture of his neighborhood on the screen. Upon further investigation, Rex discovered that Chase actually commissioned photographers to take images in the 39 states where they have customers. The photographers captured images for each specific zip codes – including both day and night versions. To see this in action, visit the Chase website here. By changing the zip code and “day” or “night” tag, you can view a variety of custom images.

Interestingly enough, the images Chase uses aren’t the famous, iconic images one could expect to see on a large bank’s website. Instead, Chase opted to include images from local neighborhoods, small parks, and even a train. The images were curated to create a sense of belonging, connection, and personalization that a client would find surprising and engaging for their online bank account.

During his research, Rex discovered a few guidelines the bank used when sourcing and creating the images:

By creating these personalized and customized images, Chase managed to make their clients feel more connected – building trust and familiarity in what could have been an otherwise very cold and impersonal experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of a CX program, some leaders tend to focus on specific metrics, including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times or call volume. Customer-focused metrics however, such as the Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) actually serve as better indicators of the effectiveness of a CX program.

Here are three things to consider when gauging CX effectiveness:

  1. Not all metrics are created equal; you have to use the ones that work for your business.
  2. Ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.
  3. CX should lead to better business results, so make sure you can draw a clear connection.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Using a Personal Brand to Create Consistency and Connection

Everyday, we are inundated with branding messages and in the process, given the opportunity to intentionally select our representative brands. Even with the most basic of decisions – from the name we use to the way we present ourselves on social media – personal branding forms an identity and familiarity for customers and colleagues alike. In the book Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success, by Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland, the authors explain that it’s crucial for everyone to create a vulnerable, honest, personal brand.

A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Ryan Foland, personal branding experience and co-author of Ditch the Act

If you are looking for a book that will help you grasp the value and advantages of developing your personal brand with intentionality, pick up a copy of Ditch the Act.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 77 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer retention expert, Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman: And social media expert, Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So hold on to your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, photographers, and ditchers, oh my!

[This Just Happened] Pots and Pans

Joey Coleman: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement, or avoid, based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened?

Dan Gingiss: So this year on Amazon Prime Day I decided to finally order a new set of pots and pans.

Joey Coleman: Ooh la la! Pots and pans. Treat yourself to something special on Amazon Prime Day.

Dan Gingiss: Well I do like to cook.

Joey Coleman: That’s how Dan rolls, people; he rolls hard. And when this guy’s ready to splurge, we’re looking at pots and pans.

Dan Gingiss: Pots and pans, baby. I do like to cook, and my pots and pans we’re really getting old and ragged. So I picked out a set of pots and pans that I really liked that were on a great sale for Amazon Prime Day, ordered them up, waited my day and a half – or whatever it was – until they arrived-

Joey Coleman: Such a long time.

Dan Gingiss: I know, terrible. And I was so excited to open the box. And it’s like a 10 piece set, so it had two different size frying pans, it had a pot, and then it had, kind of like a double boiler kind of a thing. And there were, I believe, four different glass lids on top of these. Well I’m opening the box and I’m pulling out the pieces, and I see that one of the glass lids is completely shattered – I mean, 1,001 pieces. And so I’m disappointed because that doesn’t happen very often. And my first instinct was actually to call the manufacturer. So I’m looking on the box of this thing, and the box … It’s like the copper pot company, but it’s not even … It’s not even a trademark. I don’t know what brand it is, but meanwhile there’s absolutely no communication method at all. I Google it. I can’t-

Joey Coleman: And why do we think that is? Could it be because they don’t want you to contact them?

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is.

Joey Coleman: Hmm, I wonder.

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is. So I literally cannot find this company, so I called Amazon. Now what do you think, Joey, might have happened then?

Joey Coleman: Well this is a little bit of an unfair question because I have had my own experiences of contacting Amazon about problems, but what I imagine you might have thought would happen is what would happen with a typical company. You would call them and they would say, “Well wait a second, we’re just the store. We’re not the manufacturer. You need to contact the manufacturer. But you know, it also could have broken in delivery. You should probably talk to UPS as well.” It would have been a combination of the blame game of trying to point fingers at everyone else. Or, “Let’s make it so impossible for you to do this that you’re going to just give up.” And what I mean by that is, “Great. So we’re happy to take your return back. We’re just going to need a signed certified letter saying that you received it. We’re going to need three copies of your receipt. We’re going to need to know the name of the driver and what he was wearing, or she was wearing, when they dropped it off. And we’re going to need to know your Social Security number, what town you were born in, and the hospital where you had your first checkup.”

That’s my guess, is what most businesses require.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, that’s not what happened when I phoned Amazon. In fact, what happened was the woman did not know how to get in touch with the manufacturer either.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness. You know it’s bad when Amazon, the king of the retail world online, can’t get in touch with the manufacturer.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So what did she do? She said, “You know what? I am going to refund your purchase in its entirety. And why don’t you just keep the pots and pans?” And I thought to myself (a) that’s amazing (b) she just made my problem go away because, all of a sudden, I didn’t really care that I was missing a lid because I got free pots and pans!

Joey Coleman: Free pots and pans!

Dan Gingiss: And so it was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that Amazon is the greatest company on this planet.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. What never ceases to amaze me … And Amazon is beautiful at this. You know? We are big fans in our household as well. We do a lot of business with Amazon. They are probably dollar-over-dollar the single biggest business that we buy from. What Amazon realized very early on in the process was that long-term customer relationships matter, and they would much rather sacrifice a small amount of profit today to gain your loyalty long term. They are brilliant at neutralizing negative experiences. They are brilliant at eliminating any type of hesitation or negative feeling you might have about them. I mean, at the end of the day the negative feeling was probably more directed at the manufacturer and/or the shipper. Because our presumption is it either got broken in route or it was broken when it was packaged. It wasn’t broken by Amazon. But what do they do? It’s not their fault but they make it their problem, and then they solve the problem.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. And I couldn’t be mad at the company because I couldn’t find the company.

Joey Coleman: You couldn’t find the company. Exactly.

Dan Gingiss: But, yeah. I mean, that is the way you handle a customer problem. And Joey’s right that, sure, they had to eat some money … Although my guess is they have a process to bill it back to the manufacturer. But either way they had to eat something, but it kept me a very happy customer that is going to come back and back.

And this reminds me of another story. When we had our first child somebody sent us flowers in the hospital from a really great company called ProFlowers, which is my personal favorite place to order flowers as well. And ProFlowers ships of flowers in a long box, and they always include a free vase so you get a glass vase with every shipment. And I opened the box of flowers and, maybe this is just a habit-

Joey Coleman: Let me guess: the vase was broken.

Dan Gingiss: The vase was shattered. Absolutely.

Joey Coleman: You know? This couldn’t be recipient error, at any point in this story, could it? This is one of those where Dan’s opening the box and he’s going, “There it is. Whoop … butterfingers.” It falls off his hand, “Oh, man! It arrived broken. How did that happen?”

Dan Gingiss: No, this is not user error, but thanks for suggesting that.

And I pulled out the flowers. And honestly I didn’t care about the vase because we’d used ProFlowers enough times that I had, like, 10 of them at home. But I decided to call them because as a customer experience guy, I thought they should know that the flowers arrived with a broken vase.

Joey Coleman: Healing the world of customer experience, one call at a time. Thank goodness.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. I can tell you, I would have wanted to know that as business owner.

Joey Coleman: Yes, of course.

Dan Gingiss: And so I called up and it was actually a hilarious conversation. The woman is like, “Mr. Gingiss, step away from the flowers.”

And I’m like, “No, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’ve safely removed them.”

She’s like, “No, I don’t want you to get cut. I want you to throw the whole thing out and we’re going to send you new flowers.”

And I said, “Seriously, it’s all right. I pulled out the flowers and I just wanted you to know. I’m not asking you for anything.”

Well PS, the conversation goes back and forth. And essentially what I got her to do was send me replacement flowers two weeks later when the first ones were dead. And she more than happily obliged, which I thought was terrific.

But again in that story too, what I loved about it was, number one, she’s focused on the issue at hand which is it’s a potentially dangerous situation if you’re sitting among glass shards, and she doesn’t want the company to be responsible for that so she’s concerned for my safety; and then secondly, it’s not even a question, it’s, “Either we’re going to refund your money or we’re going to resend you the product again,” and it doesn’t … They don’t ask you 900 questions to make sure you’re not lying about it or whatever it is. It’s just their nature. Their initial instinct is to fix the problem. And I think that is really the hallmark of a great customer service interaction.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t it amazing when somebody that we’ve decided to do business with, we’ve decided to give our hard earned cash over to, decides to give us the benefit of the doubt, decides to see us as upstanding citizens? Which is a lot easier to do when you’re looking at Dan Gingiss than when you’re looking at Joey Coleman. But nonetheless, it is impressive. Let me ask two clarifying questions, Dan. So how far out are we from Prime Day now? How many months has it been, give or take?

Dan Gingiss: As we’re recording right now it’s about, I think, two months.

Joey Coleman: It’s about two months. And how long since you received those ProFlowers flowers?

Dan Gingiss: That is, like, 13 years ago.

Joey Coleman: 13 years ago, yeah. So here’s the point I wanted to make with that. If you create a remarkable experience that catches your customer off guard, that leaves your customer going, “That was easy. That was painless,” they will keep telling the story. When you go above and beyond when a customer has a problem, they will love you even more – despite the fact that something had gone wrong, despite the fact that there was a negative experience. So folks, here’s the key takeaway. Stop worrying about today’s dollars. Start worrying about the lifetime value dollars. Stop worrying about, “What are we going to do with this negative experience?” And start thinking about, “How am I going to build a long term customer relationship?” The secret here is to just treat your customers as if they were your friends. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Help them out. Do for them what you wish would be done for you, and everything else will take care of itself.

Dan Gingiss: And remember: Without customers, we don’t have a business.

Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation.

[Dissecting the Experience] Personalized Imagery

Joey Coleman: We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.

Dan Gingiss: So I found this story on Twitter. You see, Joey, Twitter does have its advantages.

Joey Coleman: You know? You say that time and time and time again. I’m not doing the tweeting. I’m not getting on the Twitters. That’s not going to happen.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, I’ve given up trying to get you to.

Joey Coleman: Folks, that’s not true. That’s not true. You need to know this. So there’s the behind-the-scenes.

About once a month Dan will message me – maybe it’s more like once every two or three months – and he’ll say something like, “Hey, by the way. See you haven’t posted in awhile. If you wanted to go on today and post …”

And I’m just like, “Maybe or maybe not.”

Dan Gingiss: So if you want to talk to us about the show on Twitter …

Joey Coleman: Only talk to Dan. You can tag me. And every once in awhile, like once a year, I’ll come in and like a comment. But just, Dan is the social media go-to on the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: That’s @DGingiss, D-G-I-N-G-I-S-S.

Anyway, Twitter user, Rex Sorgatz … That’s a great name.

Joey Coleman: It is a great name. So he posted a series of 18 consecutive tweets where, well, he kind of dissected the experience like we do here on this show. And the experience he was looking at was logging into his bank’s website. Now he spent way too much time on this, but it was really interesting to see the results. So let me set this up for you. So his first tweet is about how he logged into his Chase bank account, and he noticed that the background photo was of his neighborhood. And he’s like, “Whoa, that’s kind of interesting.” So it caused him to wonder, “Does everybody see this photo?” And he then says, “This thread is an investigation into that question. Let’s call it Bank Stock Photo Regionalization.”

Now the long and short of it is he first found that in the URL of the landing page there was a zip code, his zip code. And so he changed the zip code to … I believe he went for (singing) 90210, and he saw that the picture changed to one in California. He looked at LA, San Francisco, San Diego, and he noticed that all of the images were of neighborhoods, not of well known locations. So when you went to San Francisco, you weren’t seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, you were seeing a neighborhood. And when you went to Chicago, my hometown, you see a street corner underneath an L train. You know? You don’t see the Sears or Willis Tower or Navy Pier or anything like that.

He then noticed that in the URL there was also the word “day,” and so he went in and changed the word “day” to “night” and saw a whole new set of images. And so he realized that Chase was also taking into account when you came to this landing page, and showing you a different neighborhood photo either in the daytime or at night.

So four or five tweets in, he says, “Oh, here’s a glitch.” He found out that Alaska, Hawaii, and New England all have the same photo during the day, but a different photo at night, which is kind of funny.

Those places totally look the same during the day. Totally.

Dan Gingiss: Totally. Exactly.

Now, some states … Also entire states had the same photos – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma. Basically the entire Midwest.

Joey Coleman: I take this as a personal affront. As a native Iowan, when I typed in my parents’ zip code – which is in Northwestern Iowa – I saw a picture of a windmill. Which I know exists but it exists in Southeastern Iowa, not Northwestern Iowa. So I recognized it. It’s a popular scene. It’s just not associated with the zip code.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So we’re going to include a link in the show notes so that you can go play around with this yourself. Or if you’re so inclined, you can go to bitly.com/ capital E, capital T, capital C-H-A-S-E. So that’s ETChase, ET being Experience This. But we’ll include that in the show notes and you can go play around.

And the last thing that he figured out was that these were not stock photos and that Chase had actually commissioned the photographers. And I have no idea how he did this, but he got ahold of the creative brief that Chase actually used. And it’s really interesting. It talks about particular brand attributes. So their personality’s about being trustworthy, and welcoming, and progressive, and contemporary. And the visuals are supposed to be authentic, and optimistic, and engaging. And they talk about the photography style.

And then there’s a list of places to avoid, which I thought was also really interesting. They didn’t want pictures of memorials, or universities, or religious buildings, or sports stadiums. And again I think the whole idea is that you’re not supposed to know the exact place where this is being taken, that it’s intentionally not the most popular places.

And then finally somebody else after seeing this long Twitter … not a rant, but a set of-

Joey Coleman: Exposé?

Dan Gingiss: Exposé … actually then created a map listing the seven regional default photos, and then the 39 different day and night pictures – there’s 39 days and 39 nights – and put them on a map so that you know, just by looking at the map, what picture you’re going to see.

Joey Coleman: That’s a lot of free time.

Dan Gingiss: It is a lot of free time.

Joey Coleman: That feels like a lot of free time.

Well here’s the thing. I will say, first of all, I actually … Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves: I see the benefit of something Dan found on Twitter.

Dan Gingiss: Whoo-hoo!

Joey Coleman: Because this is an interesting story, right? This is a great example of a company thinking about customization to match their personalization. Here’s what I mean by that. I think of customization and personalization as being two different things. Personalization is using the person’s name, using the individual identifiers about them. Customization is using identifiers and themes and interactions that are about a smaller segment of your group, or they identify where your customer is in the journey. So what’s interesting is when I type in the old zip code for where I used to live in Washington, D.C., as Dan alluded to, I was expecting – before knowing these were the rules – that I would see a picture of the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial, or the White House, or the Capitol, or some of the iconic imagery of Washington, D.C.

But I didn’t live on the mall next to the monuments. I lived in the neighborhood in Northwestern D.C. And what I actually got a picture of was the local park. And I know it’s the local park because I’d been to that park many times. Now it’s not a park that anyone in the world would know if you didn’t live in that neighborhood. And so I think what this does is by putting the image behind the login screen is it gives a very subconscious connection and familiarity. And at the end of the day, all humans are looking to feel connection. They’re looking to feel familiarity. And if a large bank like Chase can do this, at scale, that changes the game for how people think about their banking relationships.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think especially in this industry, if you think about it, all of the major banks are based in New York. And so they all have sort of the New York skyline as their background. You also probably have recognized over time that almost every bank uses blue as its main color. It’s sort of a financial color, right? So it becomes harder to stand out. And I think that, from a marketing perspective, this is great for Chase because it does make them unique. And when you get to that website and you see this beautiful image as a background, that’s not what you necessarily expect from a financial institution. It kind of reminds you that you are banking with somebody different. I think that was one of the things that I really liked. And, obviously, this guy who does have a lot of time on his hands, was clearly fascinated by it. But I love that he was able to dig all this up so that we can understand what went into it.

Joey Coleman: I think it’d be interesting, too, to look at the footprint of Chase Bank geographically. I wonder if they don’t have as big of a presence in the Midwest, and that’s why there’s more … You know? It might be that when they were putting together the creative brief … Because I want to give them the benefit of the doubt; this is a really interesting and fun idea. It might have been that they don’t have branches, or they don’t have a lot of customers, in Alaska and Hawaii, for example. So it was easier for them to do that.

What I’d be curious about, do you know, Dan, is it basing the zip code off of where you’re logging in from or the zip code on your account? So for example if I’m traveling would it show me, if I was logging into my Chase account from a hotel in Florida, pictures of Florida? Or would it show the pictures from my home account in Colorado? That’d be interesting to figure out too.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I’m not sure. I would guess that it’s probably based on the location of your computer, and then there’s a cookie, and you would get that same one over and over again. But I’m not entirely sure how it works.

Joey Coleman: That would be kind of an interesting way. So the reason I asked this question, folks, is at the end of the day, every experience you create, you can enhance it. You can plus it. You can take it to the next level. So maybe the first pass, we’d do these personalized images based on your region. Maybe the next pass is to tie it to where you are; because in an increasingly mobile society, people are logging in from all over. And it’d be kind of interesting if it was identifying that I was in a completely different state when I was accessing my bank account.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And I mean obviously this could get scary, right? Because Google Earth has basically photos of every house, and whatever, and in theory you could-

Joey Coleman: Please don’t show me my house when I log into the bank account; I would really rather you not. So, thanks, don’t share those photos with them, Google.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. The takeaway here is that personalization and customization can help customers feel closer to the brand. It makes them feel that you’re listening to them, and that you know them, and it builds trust. And really, as one of our mutual friends likes to say, “We are all in the trust business.” And I believe that this is a kind of thing that really any organization can pull off either digitally, or even in your written communications.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start The Conversation topic is Gauging Customer Experience Effectiveness: KPIs that matter. And of course KPIs are key performance indicators.

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of an experienced program, many leaders focus on specific metrics including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times, or call volume, things in the call center. Now these are important metrics but other numbers are just as critical including things like customer effort score or CES, net promoter score or NPS, and customer satisfaction or C-SAT. These customer-focused metrics will likely reveal more about the effectiveness of a CX program than the financial or operational ones.

Joey Coleman: Here are four things to consider when gauging customer experience effectiveness:

Number one – not all metrics are created equal. You have to use the ones that work for your business.

Number two – ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.

Number three – customer experience should lead to better business results. So make sure you can draw a clear connection.

And number four – if you’re going to use all of these KPIs, be careful that you don’t walk yourself into an acronym nightmare where your staff doesn’t understand what you’re actually talking about when you say CES, NPS, C-SAT or KPI.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And to put it in another way I remember, when I was in corporate America, that I got report overload all the time. You open up your email and there’s all these reports. And everybody wants to make a report because they feel like by having a report it somehow justifies what they’re doing to management. But the thing is is that it doesn’t end with just the report of the numbers. It’s about analyzing and understanding what the numbers mean, and taking action off of them. And so I always found that it was more important to look for action-oriented data, rather than just a report that is able to say, “Hey, this is great.”

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about gauging customer experience effectiveness: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AVTECH at experienceconversations.com. Remember, go to experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Ditch the Act

We spend hours and hours-nose deep in books. We believe that everything you read influences the experiences you create. So we’re happy to answer our favorite question. What are you reading?

Dan Gingiss: So I found a book that I thought would really lead to an interesting conversation in our What Are You Reading segment. Now I met Ryan Foland first at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year and then again at Inbound where we were both speakers. He’s a great guy. He is of the red haired variety, and so he loves to refer to himself as a ginger.

Joey Coleman: I love that the bald the guy is commenting on the ginger.

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey, he calls himself a ginger, right?

But he’s a terrific guy. He’s smart. He’s really funny. And, Joey, of course you will love this: he is a ridiculously prolific tweeter. You think I tweet a lot.

Joey Coleman: Oh, that’s why I haven’t come across Ryan yet. Oh sorry, Ryan. I’ll look forward to meeting in person since I’ll never see you on the tweeters.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, you think I tweet a lot.

Anyway, Ryan is also a coach who helps leaders worldwide on the art of simplifying spoken and written messaging for greater impact. He’s the inventor of what he calls the 3-1-3 Method, which is a process whereby pitches begin as three sentences, condense into one sentences, and then boil down to three words. And he has a brand new book out with co author Leonard Kim. It’s about building a personal brand and it’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. so I asked Ryan to tell us a little bit about it.

Ryan Foland: Ditch the Act is a book that I wrote with Leonard Kim. It’s a deep-dive into why and how you should build an authentic personal brand. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why should I build a personal brand?” Let me actually ask you a better question: “Why shouldn’t you build a personal brand?” If you do not want to make deep connections with your employees and your colleagues in the office, then you don’t need to have a personal brand. If you have to reenter the job market in the future, and if you want to spend months – if not years – to land a new job, then don’t worry about having a personal brand either. A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Building a personal brand isn’t limited to one specific type of person. We show you it can work for anyone. Ditch the Act demonstrates how exposing your failures and your weaknesses is an essential element to creating an authentic personal brand. We’ll show you how ditching the act and getting vulnerable is the best way to differentiate and grow your brand, all while cultivating brand loyalty. Ditch the Act will teach you how to bring your intentional personal brand to life.

Here is the deal.

Let me give it to your real.

The key to connection is to learn to reveal.

You see, you are not perfect and neither am I.

And that is the exact reason we can see eye to eye.

Everybody’s different, but we are all the same.

To be perfectly imperfect is how you win the game.

If you only showcase good and do not share the bad.

You will miss connections that you never knew you had.

And that, my friends, is a rap.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, folks, he raps too. He’s even been known to do it on stage during his keynote.

Joey Coleman: I want to see you rap in your next keynote, Dan. Challenge! Gauntlet thrown down, ladies and gentlemen. We will post the video later on experiencethisshow.com.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, I do sing in my keynote every once in a while but rap is probably not happening.

Anyway, the reason I chose this book to talk about on the show is that … Joey, you and I, though we get along famously, have really different strategies for building our own personal brands. And so I was hoping that we might do as Ryan and Leonard say, and Ditch the Act for a few minutes, and talk openly about how we go about our personal branding.

Joey Coleman: Muy Interesante. All right, I’m in. Who’s starting? You or me?

Dan Gingiss: You, sir.

Joey Coleman: Okay. So personal branding is something that I’ve thought a decent amount about for two main reasons. Number one, my career path has been incredibly eclectic. For those of you that know me, or who are loyal listeners, I worked in the intelligence community. I worked in the white house, I was a teacher. I was a criminal defense lawyer. I sold promotional products. I ran an ad agency. Now I’m a full time speaker. And so one of the challenges when you can’t hold a job – I mean, when you change careers as frequently as I do – is that your personal brand is the thread that needs to continue through. And so I’ve made some very conscious decisions about markers throughout my career that I’ve wanted to keep going so that, even if I was doing a different job in a different place or working in a different industry, there were some common threads.

One, that some people may not realize was a very conscious decision on my part, was the fact that I go by the name Joey. Now my legal name is Charles Joseph Coleman III – nice and pretentious sounding. But for the exception of one year – it was an ill fated year, years ago – I’ve always gone by Joey. During that year I went by Joe; it didn’t stick. I went back to Joey. The crazy thing about going by Joey is when you hear the name Joey, you immediately think of one of a small category of people: either a small child under the age of 10, Joey Buttafuoco, Joey Lawrence, or Joey Tribbiani from Friends. I am okay being in the top four Joeys in your mind, and my hope is to elevate to be the number one Joey in your mind. So I think there are some things we can do around personal branding just even by the way we refer to ourselves.

Dan Gingiss: Well you are the number one Joey in my life, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Aw, thanks.

Dan Gingiss: And it’s interesting that you say that because when I was a child I went by Danny. And when I got to college I introduced myself as Danny, and every person I introduced myself then turned around and called me Dan. And so it just kind of happened organically where I became Dan from Danny. And I feel great about that because now that’s the one that I turn around to the most – with my mom being the core exception; she will never stop calling me Danny.

Joey Coleman: Oh I love it. I got to spend more time hanging out with a Mr. and Mrs. Gingiss.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

You know? My background has also shaped my personal brand. I came from corporate America and was there for almost 20 years, and spent a decent amount of time at three major brands and had to build a personal brand that worked with those brands as well. Because before I became a full time professional speaker and consultant, I was often speaking on behalf of those brands. So it was Dan Gingiss from Discover, Dan Gingiss from McDonald’s, Dan Gingiss from Humana, and so I had to represent the business brand or the corporate brand at the same time. And certainly some companies are more understanding of personal brand than others. I think the really forward thinking companies get that their employees having personal brands is a good thing for the company, because they get to be known as thought leaders in their own right and then the company gets the halo effect; versus sometimes the other way around where companies believe that you should lead with their own logo. But we all know that people trust and believe and find more credible their friends and their people they interact with in real life in the social world than they do companies.

And so I continued to build my personal brand as a thought leader, particularly in the social media space, because I had to jump into that space having very little experience professionally. I remember the day that I got my Twitter account and I signed up was also the day that I was put in charge of the social media team at Discover. And I was like, “Well I should probably figure this thing out,” and joined Twitter. So however many tens of thousands of tweets later, I’m clearly fully immersed.

Joey Coleman: Nothing like learning on the job.

You know? The interesting thing about that is – and we joke about it a lot on the show – I have made the conscious decision not to invest a lot of time and effort into social media. And Dan and I banter about this regularly as our listeners know, but one of the things that I think is important when you look at your personal brand is to really make it personal. Figure out the things that work for you. There are so many pundits and experts and advisors out there saying, “Well if you want to build your personal brand, you have to have your own website. You have to be prolific on social media. You need your own YouTube channel, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

No, not at all. You just need to do you. You need to figure out what is most important to you and what is most in alignment with the brand you’re trying to create. Because let’s be candid: In an increasingly transient economy where people are changing jobs, changing careers maybe a dozen times over a lifetime, if not more, the only thing that’s the same is you. The only thing that carries from one job to the next is you. And so if you’re not taking the time to invest in your personal brand, I promise you the career path is not going to be as fulfilling, as adventurous, as fun, and as results-impacting as it could be if you did focus on your personal brand.

Dan Gingiss: So we recommend to everyone, go out and get the new book from Ryan Foland and Leonard Kim. It’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. And we can’t wait to see your personal brands blossom.

Joey Coleman: Wow! Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions. And if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time, and we’ll see you next week for more …

Joey Coleman: Experience …

Dan Gingiss: … This.