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Transparent Marketing with Broden Johnson | ProActive Podcast with Chris Hogan # 129

 

Broden Johnson sits down with Chris to share his journey to business success, his transparent approach to marketing, and the importance of shared values.

Video Transcript:

- [Announcer] Welcome to the PROACTIVE Podcast brought to you by MeMedia.

- G'day world, Chris Hogan coming to you from MeMedia studio here at Burleigh Heads for episode 129 of the PROACTIVE Podcast, and I have with me today Broden from Yakk Digital. How are you, Broden?

- Good mate, thanks for having me on here.

- Excellent, thanks for coming mate. We've sorta knocked around the same events on the Gold Coast for a couple of years. Prefer to call each other rivals rather than competitors and keep each other honest, and I think keeping the industry honest, which is fantastic.

- Yeah.

- Mate, first of all, you're founder of Yakk. How long has Yakk been around?

- Yakk's been around for about four years, give or take.

- Cool, and whereabouts are you servicing geographically?

- We go nationwide, like we service anywhere from anywhere in Australia and some New Zealand, but predominantly we like to work with clients around Gold Coast, Brisbane, 'cause that gives us that opportunity, to get face-to-face with them and really get to know the client.

- Yeah, cool. So, on this show, most people that watch absolutely know that I love building brands on purpose. And you can probably see over my shoulder, there's the new book. But mate, I like to delve into what values and purpose are driving you. So, let's start with your story. How did you get here? So, did anybody in your life inspire you to want to become a business owner?

- Yeah nah, it's a good question. I suppose I was lucky enough to fall into getting a mentor back in high school. So, I was about year 10 or 11. I found my first mentor and sort of stumbled across him, because my hometown in Victoria, right, just to give you a bit of context, has about 500 people. So, pretty much you throw a rock and you're not gonna hit anything anywhere soon. So, pretty sheltered life. But I stumbled across this mentor of mine and he started feeding me books and videos and seminars and just people to sort of keep a hold of. I remember the first book he gave me was Think and Grow Rich, and that sort of set me up with this mentality that hey, I wanna get into business. This is what I wanna do. And for the next few years of school, I just cruised through knowing that I'm gonna go do whatever I can to get into business. He even said I could come work with him. So when I finished school, I moved up to the Gold Coast and started working with him. Didn't tell me anything about the job and I, for some reason, didn't think to ask. Don't know why, wish I did, but it ended up being a bit of a call centre and being a really shy person at the time, that just scared the shit out of me. Sorry, I don't know if I can swear on this, but-

- Yeah, go for it.

- Scared the shit out of me trying to make all these cold calls. But he really did set me up with having the right mindset and mentality to be able to get through it. So at that point I was kind of okay with it, but honestly I sucked at it. I couldn't sell or do any of it for the life of me, and that's probably because I just didn't believe I could do it. He was training me in mindset, but I just hadn't clicked yet. And it was about nine months later, I got demoted from, believe it or not, from the call centre to telemarketing. So pretty much what that meant was I had to make three times as many phone calls, so maybe two or 300 a day. But that was sort of the kick, and that was a pivotal point in my life that I decided to get good at it, and I decided to make the commitment to get good at sales and understanding why people bought and the marketing and sales. And that's sort of where my journey began with what I'm doing today, was at that point. And that's when I started waking up at three o'clock in the morning and I said to myself, "I'm gonna study for five or six hours before I go to work and learn everything I can and spend every waking hour I can." I know that sounds ridiculous, and I don't know how I did it, to some degree. But within a couple of months, I started to get really good at it. Got promoted, ended up going to work for another company with a big pay rise and got sales person of the month running for quite a while. And it was just that point that I decided I wanted to get good and started to learn. Where I started first business though was with the company I was working with, then went into business with a business partner. And again, at this stage I was like 20, maybe. I'd just had my first daughter then, like my first kid, so life was pretty crazy at that time. But we went into business and things were all going well, to say the least. We were making money, and I felt like at that point I was sort of on top of the world. But I guess that was the second pivotal point in my life, is I learned some lessons then, because I went from a pretty good pay packet to the next day, not having a business partner. Him disappearing, draining the accounts, leaving me with everything in my name. And he knew I was naive 'cause he signed everything in my name. So suddenly I went from sort of up here to down here really quickly, and I guess that was the next stage of my life that I'm like, "Shit, business is actually really hard." And you've gotta learn how to move forward and you've gotta learn how to get over these hurdles and these challenges. And I suppose one thing that I talk about a lot these days is if we're going in businesses, you're gonna come across these challenges. I know I've gone off track from your original question, but I'm getting somewhere. So then yeah, pretty much I ended up in this big hole and I went back to my core and went, what am I good at? What do I love doing? And it all comes back to I love marketing and I love sales, and I love understanding how people buy and why they should buy. And I realised that I'm good at this and I can help other businesses do this. So, why don't I move into that? And that's sort of how Yakk came about, was I started just helping one client and then two, then three, and soon enough we're a team of 13 and new office and things are going quite well again. I'm sure there's another challenge coming up soon. But yeah, that was sort of how I got to where I am, in the long answer.

- Fantastic, mate. How did you pick yourself up from that failure? How long did that sort of take you?

- Look, I probably sat around for a couple of months twiddling my thumbs, not knowing what to do, and it was because it was such a big shift. We went from living a high life. I mentioned I was 21 at the time and making money, so we were just doing dumb shit, just not saving money. And we went from that to about negative $200,000 in about three days. So for me it was like that next week, we're looking in the corners of the couch to try and find change to go and buy bread, to put food on the table. It was a really big shift for me. I had to learn how to adapt to that, and at the same time I was like, "What do I do with my life?" My mentor had disappeared as well, and didn't turn out to be the greatest mentor at that stage. So I kinda had to figure out what to do on my own, and I guess the easiest choice would have been to go back to Victoria or do something, but I just didn't have it in me. I knew I could do something, so I was like, "What am I gonna do?" And I actually sold real estate for about 12 months, and that's what got me out of the hole. Was again, I know how to sell stuff, so I was like, "Real estate, I can sell real estate." Did that for 12 months and got myself out of debt, and the day I did, had about 50 bucks to my name, I started Yakk.

- Cool.

- Yeah, hard times but good times.

- No, it is, mate. So, that get up and go spirit, obviously picking yourself up and going again. Who did that come from in your life? Was there somebody else in your life that inspired you with those types of values?

- I don't know, it's hard to say. I guess I've got a few good people around me now, but a lot of it is just discipline. I've just taught myself to be disciplined, and I figure if I can just do a little bit more than everyone else each day, then that will get me ahead. And so it's just something that I've developed. And I do give a lot to my mentor who did feed me those books and give me the old Think and Grow Rich and the other books that I had read and listened to. So it's just a mentality I've been able to develop, and that's through just having a few hurdles along the way and learning that it's not the end of the world. No one's died. Let's just move up and go again the next day.

- Yeah.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And you build that resilience, which is good.

- Yeah, it becomes easier. It's definitely like a muscle. The more you train it, the more you practise it, the better you get at it, you know? Getting out at three o'clock in the morning now doesn't take me long. It's three seconds and you're up and out 'cause you've done it so many times, but it's just something you gotta practise.

- Yeah absolutely, and build that habit.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Yeah, cool. And so what would you say your life purpose is now?

- I like to think I like to challenge myself and others. When I've tried to think about that, thought deeply about this before, that's one thing that I love doing now. So anytime I can try and come up against something that scares me, it makes me wanna do it even more. And trying to, I guess, help others go through those challenges as well is something I'd love to be able to do down the track. With the business and where I'm taking that, I'm really focused on growing that and building out an awesome team, an awesome culture that, like I said at the start, is gonna change the way that we do marketing. Because I think that the marketing industry in itself is pretty shit, like there's a lot of people out there that don't necessarily do the right things or don't know how to do it. And I think if we can try and up the ante on that and just be able to change the way that works, that would be something I'd love to be able to do, alongside challenging those businesses that we're helping to grow and not just be stagnant or happy with mediocrity. Mediocrity, how do you say that word?

- Mediocrity.

- [Broden] That one.

- Yeah, no, it's a hard one.

- [Broden] That's a hard one. What he said. So instead of just being happy with that, how can we challenge them to be better and how to grow? So yeah, challenge is my purpose right now.

- Cool, that's great.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And just on the marketing industry, that's one of the reasons why I released the book, because I also felt like we get calls every day from people going, "Look, this agency has done us wrong," or, "This agency is so arrogant that they won't do things the way we want them to be done." I mean, it's not up to the agency to mould themselves to each client and do marketing how the client wants it. Agencies should know how to do marketing.

- Yeah.

- But I think, I think it's the customer service side of things that actually is where a lot of agencies seem to be going wrong.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And they don't have transparency and they're trying to hide things, and especially in SEO world. It really drives me up the wall, mate.

- [Broden] Tell me about it.

- It's smoke and mirrors. I wrote about this years ago, about how SEO smoke and mirrors is just prolific through the industry. Oh yeah, you gotta pay big bucks for this, and this is what we're gonna do. And the old hat tactics, black hat tactics almost, are still around and just had a meeting yesterday on it. Are you experiencing that as well?

- A hundred percent. I feel like so many of our clients that we're getting have had bad experiences with other agencies prior, and we've had clients that have been through five or six agencies and no results. I had a client say he spent $650,000 on his advertising in the last few years and he hasn't had a single lead. And it's like, that sort of stuff just blows my mind because a lot of the time when we're taking over it, if we ever do take over another agency and they've decided to come with us instead. Not here to poach people's clients, FYI. But if that ever happens, right, sometimes it's like the simple stuff that should be step one haven't even been done. And the SEO, you're right. That happens quite often.

- It's the biggest one. It's the biggest one.

- [Broden] I agree. Because it's an invisible service, right? There's no physical, tangible result that comes directly from it immediately. It's a long-term strategy that you're building. And a lot of people are just not doing the work, but they're charging, but the client doesn't know better. But it comes back to the transparency and the customer service. I know that's where we've really dived into over the last 12 months is where can we improve? And I felt like I agree, I feel like that's a really big place that as an agency, we need to be more transparent and more communicative with the client. And it just means like, for us, we pick up the phone at least once a month. Have an in-person strategy session every single month to go over everything that has been done and what we're gonna be doing, and then feedback from both sides to make sure we're still on the same path, that we haven't moved off. Because from a business perspective, you would have team meetings regularly. You're not gonna just hire a staff member and then say, "See you later, I'll talk to you next year." You're gonna have regular meetings to make sure that you're all going in the same direction as a business. And I think that needs to be the same as with your clients. You're effectively their marketing team, or we are, I should say, so we need to be entwined with their business and where they're going on a regular basis. And give that feedback so that when we've done X, Y, Z, the client knows we've done it. They know what they're getting, and then what we're doing next is this, this and this. Are you happy with that? Great. And on the offset of an SEO campaign, we'll always set out a roadmap. So they'll know exactly what we're doing for the next 12 months, and it's on a piece of paper. They can see what we're doing and they can follow along as we go. I think just doing those little things makes a big difference from our sense, and yeah, transparency is key in the industry at the moment.

- Absolutely, and that's one of the reasons why, writing the book is actually, I know I talk about it a lot, okay? But-

- [Broden] Go nuts.

- It's one of those things that is actually quite confronting for anybody who's giving up years of IP. You know, it's 20 years of IP, 20 plus years of IP in that book, and I'm giving it up so everybody knows exactly how we do business here.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- But the benefit is, is that the entire industry has the opportunity to actually be better.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Like, they don't have to take my word verbatim, you know? Not many people will, but there is a framework in there that is perfect for every agency to be able to use in order to be transparent.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And also get results.

- Absolutely, and I think with like how you and I bump into each other and we try and push each other along. I think it's good, and if we've got an idea that we can share with the rest of the marketing world, that's gonna help them improve. There's plenty of people to work with out there.

- It's good for us too, right?

- Yeah, it's good for everybody. I like that you don't think of competitors, and I'm the same. I'm happy to get in a room full of marketers and I'll share all of our secrets with them, because if it's gonna help them get their clients better, then great. And I think that's the same reason you've written the book. I think that's awesome.

- Yeah, thanks mate. So, in our methodology, it's called PROACTIVE. It's all about being proactive. And from you getting up in the mornings and doing that learning, that's proactive in itself. I love everything to do with that word since developing the acronym for the methodology and just totally obsessed with it. Is there anything else that you do in life that you feel is also of that nature? You know, not just getting up in the morning. Where else does that sort of come up in life? Is it that you set goals? Do you plan, do you write a journal? What else are you doing?

- Yeah, all of the above. I think it's important to be proactive as we can 'cause if we don't have a plan, we don't know where we're going. And your plan will change and it will grow. I've gone through phases where I've had really rigid goals and plans. To the hour, every hour, I know what I should be doing. But I feel like sometimes if they're that rigid, then you're missing out on possible opportunities that you haven't seen because you're only focused on that one thing. Whereas what if this was to happen and was gonna make it easier or faster or quicker or whatever. So, I think there's a fine line between too much and nothing. I definitely do plan and projections and forecasts and all that sort of stuff from a business perspective, 'cause it's nice to know where you're going.

- And whereabouts did you pick up that knowledge around the correct way to plan? Or it might not be the correct way, but your best-

- [Broden] My way, yeah.

- Your best way to plan.

- Just podcasts, books, mentors, coaching.

- Have you got a new mentor since the last one?

- I don't have just one, I sort of have a key few people. I find that having five or so people, good people that I can talk to about different aspects of life and business is helpful because you're gonna get a different opinion from everyone 'cause everyone's been on their own unique experience. You ask person A and they say this, and person B says that, and you can sort of go, "Well, I like that part of that, and I like that part of that. Let's just put them together."

- Exactly, yeah. So I think developing those filters on what people say and just not taking their opinion for everything. It's about finding what works from what they've said or what they've shared with you, and then interpreting in my own way to then apply it to what works for me. So yeah, I've kind of got a few people that I talk to now, which is good. And you need that. I think it's also important to have a good, healthy work-life balance. So, I'll wake up early and I'll get a few things done, have some time for myself, low-key, meditate, whatever I need to do then. But then kids wake up, it's family, family, family. And then you work, and then you're back home. You've gotta have this balance and you've gotta make sure that you're not neglecting any particular part of the business, or life, sorry, I should say. Because if you suffer in one then it's gonna show on the other. So, I try and be proactive in that, and making sure that right down from every team member in the business gets time where we can sit down and strategize. Because whether you're the new intern or the manager of the business, I feel like everyone's opinion is valid because they've all got their own unique experiences, that they've got some input. But then also gotta make sure you've got time for kids and wife, because if you neglect one, the other's gonna suffer as well.

- Bang on, bang on. So with regards to neglecting one or the other, if you're getting up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, how's your sleep going? What time are you going to bed?

- [Broden] Oh, you know, nine o'clock or so.

- Yeah?

- [Broden] Yeah, I get plenty of six hours.

- Six hours, you're good on six hours? You're fine? 'Cause everybody's different.

- Yeah, yeah, no, I'm fine. I will admit, I have three or four coffees a day, but. No, six hours is good for me. I'll sleep in if I need. I try not to make it-

- [Chris] Get it. If I need to, I will, but six hours is good.

- [Chris] Give yourself a break sometimes.

- Yeah.

- [Chris] Yeah.

- [Broden] Yeah, I try not to do it on weekends.

- Yeah.

- [Broden] If I can.

- Yeah, I think that's an interesting thing, isn't it, about being disciplined? You've built a habit to get up at that time and do your thing, but you've gotta also have that awareness about yourself and your health.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And be able to say, "Hey, I need to sleep in tomorrow 'cause I'm absolutely wrecked." Or, "I need to clear my calendar for tomorrow because I understand that I need time out to think and all that sort of stuff."

- [Broden] Yeah.

- In the mornings, that's your time to get clear on your thoughts and clarity and strategy, is that right?

- Yeah, pretty much. I'll do a bit of journaling or meditation and maybe train or work out or something like that. But it's nice to just get a jump on the day. I don't touch any technology prior 'cause that's never good at that hour of the morning.

- No, except that it sucks, right? Because your apps to help you do things are on your phone.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- If you're doing any guided meditation, it's on your phone.

- Yeah, I know.

- [Chris] If you're doing an interval workout-

- Well, it's part of discipline. You gotta ignore the other shit and just go straight to what you're trying to go to and then throw it on the other side of the room.

- Exactly. I can't even stand looking at my phone at certain times of the day. I feel that my eyes go cross-eyed and it screws my brain.

- [Broden] Yeah. So yeah, I'm the same. And I've gotten to the point where my interval training is just, I don't have to touch my app. It's just like, okay, I've gotta do this much exercise and whatnot.

- Yeah, that's right, I'm the same. I just try and avoid it at all costs until I'm in the office and I'm sitting down ready to go. Then it's okay, like full steam ahead. But then I know I've got until five o'clock. Whenever I'm home, it's off again. It's away because there's a time and place for things, and I've learned that the hard way, I will admit. I've learned because I've been on it too much and things, like I said, things get neglected. You can be really aware of what is affecting you and what's not, and that's the same with sleep. If you feel like you need to sleep in, just sleep in. If you feel like you can't train today, don't train today. And I've learned those things the hard way. I was going through a phase where I was running heaps and I would just do it every day. I'm the sort of person that I go really hard at something and I get real fixated on doing something. So I'd just run every single day and I'd do big kilometres, as well. And then I couldn't walk for three weeks and it's like, well that was pointless, wasn't it? So you just gotta find the happy medium and be self-aware so that you don't overstep, although I struggle with that sometimes. But you know, you live and learn.

- Absolutely, you do. Yeah, it's those moments where you push yourself just over the edge and you go, "Oh, right." The amount of mistakes I've made in life, I tell you. I just feel like a total douche, you know? But it's from those mistakes that you learn the most.

- Yeah, a hundred percent, like you fail. You don't learn much from like, if you had a clear road where you're just flying through with no mishaps, I feel like you're not gonna learn a lot from that. But every time you bugger up, if you can learn something and you go, "Cool, thanks for that lesson." That's where you're gonna get the real lessons. And for me, I haven't done any formal education in marketing or business or anything like that, but I've learned through trial and error. I've learned a lot about business through scaling multiple businesses. I've probably tried to start maybe a dozen other businesses than the ones I'm running today, and there's only a few running today. So, there's a good reason for that. A lot of them have backfired and haven't worked. So you just learn through that, but I feel like that's where I've learned a lot about business, is just through scaling a business and then losing everything and then going, "Well, that's how you not run a business. Let's try again."

- [Chris] Yeah.

- And you might do that a few times before you struck gold, for lack of better words. And I think that's where you get your best lessons from in every aspect of your life, is try it. If it doesn't work, just pick yourself up and go again.

- Have you got an example for us, in terms of the biggest lesson that you learned from one of those failed businesses?

- Ah, I don't know, that's a hard question.

- [Chris] All right, while you think about it, I've got one.

- All right.

- So basically we had this skincare company approach us from the US. It was a beautiful, beautiful range of skincare. It was in Saks Fifth Avenue, all that sort of stuff. And they had to contract their arrangements in the US but still we thought, you know, this fantastic. Great name, all the rest of it. The GFC hit actually, it was 2008, 2009. And it was either, look, I start sacking people or I invest in it. And we're gonna actually build this new e-commerce website on the side, and of course it's gonna be amazing. So at the time, there was no Shopify and whatnot, basically were either non-existent or pretty average at the time, so we had to do custom build. We built that. We spent, what was it, 80% of the funds that we had on building it. That means we only had 20% leftover to market it.

- [Broden] Oh, geez.

- Wrong way around, right?

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Arse-about-face.

- [Broden] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- So the lesson I learned on that one was that maybe flip that around, you know? In today's world, you absolutely can do that.

- [Broden] Oh yeah.

- You can set up a MVP really easily, a minimum viable product, or a shopping cart relatively easy and go and test the market first. But back then we just dived in, and also we didn't actually do enough consumer research to find out one, did anybody like it? Two, we knew some people liked it, but we didn't know, like-

- [Broden] You didn't go deep enough.

- The correct odds on actually doing research. If you're gonna do a small amount of research, you got to ask 30 people. If you're gonna do a large amount of research, I think you need to ask 150 plus people.

- [Broden] Right.

- So, I think we asked probably 10.

- [Broden] And even those people you ask have gotta be the right people.

- Exactly.

- [Broden] Just gonna walk down the road, and yeah.

- Yeah, so have you got anything like that you could share?

- Oh look, I mean yeah, you've triggered a few things. I think just off the back end of what you've just said there, like doing the research prior. A lot of the businesses I started, like I've done a few different e-com stores and things like that. And it's just like, you get super excited and you go and just jump in. It's like, this is gonna be so cool. You're building it out and you're making it, and then it's like, oh yeah, I'm out of money, or no one actually wants it, or whatever. I think having the MVP is really important, understanding get the minimal viable product, 'cause in products that I've done with one of the companies I've got, it's a technology piece, right? And when I first developed it, it was pretty horrible, but it was an MVP, right? And it was good enough to get out there. And I tested it, and where it is today is very much different to where it was, because it went through the MVP stages on where and how it developed from customer feedback. Because the thing is, as business owners, we're generally not the clientele, right? Our opinion doesn't really even matter because we're not the ones buying it, or your sister, or your mom, or your grandmothers, their opinion don't matter because they're not buying it, right? So the only people's opinion that matters is people that are willing to part money to actually purchase the product or service. And you need to get feedback from them before jumping all the way in, because there's a good chance you will change your product. And I was doing some mentoring at a tech week a few weeks ago, and I was going into these different businesses. And they got like three days to create a business and launch it and stuff, and it's really-

- The startup weekend, right?

- [Broden] Yeah, the startup weekend. I think I bumped into you there, maybe.

- No, not at that one.

- You've been to a few others.

- [Chris] Previous ones, yeah.

- Yeah anyway, so it was one of those startup weekends, and we were just going in and trying to figure out how to kill the business. And I know that sounds harsh, but we would just pull these guys' businesses apart and try and kill it, because if we can kill it in five minutes, it might not be the right business. Or it's gonna them ammunition to then go, "Okay, there's some holes. We need to attack that and we need to build on that." But some of the guys, we would kill it and they would come back with an idea 10 times better. And if we didn't kill that business there they would've kept running with it, with something that is just the same as everything else, that doesn't have a point of difference or anything like that. But I guess, to go back to your question again, definitely just the whole discipline and tenacity it actually takes to be in business, and how hard it can be through having ups and downs and all these different failures, like bad business partnerships. I think I've tried two other businesses with two other business partners as well, and both went belly up. So it's like, do I want business partners?

- Has that jaded you a little bit now?

- Oh definitely. I'm definitely hesitant about it. I'm always reading what I'm signing my life away on now, unlike when I was 20 and just, give me the pen, let's go. So, learning that business isn't always clear cut how we expect it to be. And coming from a country town, like we used to leave our front doors unlocked.

- So much trust.

- Yeah, you know everyone. Even though there's only like six people, but you know them all and there is trust. You've just got a natural trust for every person. Whereas bringing that up here, not to say, it's just different. You just gotta approach it in a different way.

- Oh mate, don't worry. I've been done over so many times, so many times. Having that trust and blind faith is kind of what I call it. Because people will tell me, "I'm not really sure about that person," or whatever. And I'll be like, "Nah, nah, it's all right." And they're the ones that-

- [Broden] I've said that.

- They're the ones that have taken me for a ride and cost me lots of money. So yeah, I get it, yeah.

- [Broden] What's been your lesson learned from that, then?

- From that?

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Oh mate, so the lesson is the values, actually. Through the course of writing my book, the reason why it started was because basically I had the stereotypical midlife crisis, almost. Without the fast cars, women and divorce, right? And then I had to pick myself up from out of that hole and what I worked through was values. And so what values did my father, who was my hero when I was growing up, what values did he have? Oh, well, most of those are mine too.

- [Broden] Right.

- And then I started to realise how valuable values are in ascertaining relationships between people. And so quite often now when we're actually going through our strategies for marketing with people, I actually get to ask about their value sets and all the rest of it. And I get that very early stage check-in with the clients on what their values are and whether or not I share them. Now, I know that I have to share at least a minimum of three. If I can share more of that then cool, but a minimum of three for us to be able to do business together. The same deal with hiring people. So now I know that, I'm really attentive to what values they're saying, what behaviours they're putting behind those values as well, and whether or not I'll align to them. And we're helping craft their messaging, so we need to be able to exhibit those similar values.

- [Broden] Yeah, of course.

- Because we need to be able to tap into that. Having empathy for other people is a lot to do with our own life experience and our own value sets. Because if we don't understand that feeling and that emotion behind those values, how the hell are we gonna write content about it or create a video about it?

- [Broden] Yeah, you're right.

- So, that's kind of where I'm at, and that's been working 100% of the time, every time I meet someone and they engage us for work. And now we are implementing that into our hiring, as well.

- [Broden] Yeah, that's good.

- So, our team's values, and that's been learned the hard way, as well. I've had teams just like you. Same size as you, scaled back, it's been like an accordion. That's agency world a little bit. You lose your client, damn, you know? Does that mean I'm gonna have to put someone off? But hopefully we're smart enough to build some services behind us, that it's not just the hours that we work that we get paid for.

- [Broden] Correct.

- I haven't been that successful, in that case. That's where a lot of my failures have occurred, trying to build up those other products to bolster the hourly work.

- [Broden] Gotcha.

- I'm pretty sure that answers your question. I can talk under a yard of wet cement, mate.

- Nah mate, it's your podcast. You can talk as much as you want.

- [Chris] It's supposed to be about you.

- I've run a podcast so I know what it's like to sit in that seat, as well. But no, I think you make good points about the values and having that, and that would reflect in your culture. And that's gonna reflect in like, I think having the right team. I know that that's what makes Yakk Yakk, is our team behind Yakk, that we've got such an awesome team. And I know that that's the thing I'm most proud of is the team we've been able to put together because they work so well together within in a collaboration space, and that reflects on the services we can provide for our client. And yes, there's a bit of a rigid interviewing process to become part of Yakk, you know. Not anyone just off the street can walk in. Although we did have one guy that walked in with some coffees and cookies and he did get high on the list.

- Nice job.

- He stood out, right? Like, that's all part of it. But I think it's important 'cause you've gotta make sure that your team is what's working on your clients, and they're the important asset to us because if they are effective and great at what they do, then that makes it easier for the clients to then, well it makes the better results for the clients, I should say.

- Mate, there's nothing more fulfilling than seeing your team work really well together. Having a laugh, being able to give each other a bit of stick and still laugh about it. Receive feedback really, really well. Give criticism in ways that just works. They understand each other and I think that's very uplifting. 'Cause I've had team members that just haven't worked well together, too. And it's like, whoa, you're treading on eggshells every single day. And I was in an emotional intelligence course recently with SWISH.

- Right.

- We both know Ryan Tuckwood very well, and so they were talking about how managing your emotions can be like, if there's an obstacle between us, well the obstacle is the way. We have to address it.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Because if we don't, what we're effectively doing, and he used an analogy. I can't remember the guy's name. The other guy, sorry Ryan. It's basically like holding down a soccer ball underneath the water. We're suppressing those emotions, and all they wanna do is pop back up again. But because while we're expending energy on suppressing those emotions, we're not getting other shit done, and we're probably worrying about the situation or whatever. So we need to actually just, boom, let that ball be on the surface, bring it up. Obstacle is the way, you know? Get over it or get on with it.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Some things you don't get over, so you just have to make the hard decision and go, "Right, we're just not gonna get past this, are we?"

- I think that even comes back to us as humans. We're actually like, it's our life, it's our story. So things that happen to us, they're happening to us, meaning that we can choose how we react to it. So if yes, shit happens and that's very much the case, but I know for me, it's like every time something might happen wrong, I've got to try and find what am I getting out of that? And then try and focus on that, because then it allows us to grow from it and not just let exterior things happen to us, right? 'Cause shit's happening all day, all the time to us. Constantly we're being affected by it. And some people will let their, like they might run their whole lives by just being affected by exterior things. Someone cuts them off in traffic, there's their whole day written off from a two second incident on the road. Or why not just get over it? Choose that that's not gonna affect you and then go and let seven people in, like let them in on traffic. I don't know, that's a bad analogy. But just, you can't let those little things affect you because I really feel like that's a choice that people make. They're choosing to let that affect them in the way that they want, 'cause they're the ones telling the story, you know? Be the director, as you would say.

- Yeah.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Yeah, you're right, and we learn these things. We actually learn how to deal with this stuff and as long as you don't write off that learning. I think that's the mistake that I see a lot of people make, is that they go, "Well, I'm just not taking that feedback on." Or, "I'm not putting up with this." "This is just all negative energy and I'm not accepting it."

- Yeah. And you're gonna get stubborn people like that. And from a team perspective, that's where you wanna try and make sure that you've got a tight-knit team that are going to work well together and hold the same values, because that's gonna have the synergies.

- It's so important, and I think there's been this stage of transition for companies where they've gone, "Let's look at our core values. Let's put posters on the wall and let's just basically stop at that." We need to walk the walk. You can't just talk the talk because your employees, and if you attach your customers to those values, will see right through it. And that doesn't feel good from a director's point of view. How can you honestly show up every single day if you're being inauthentic?

- [Broden] Yeah, exactly.

- And it's the values that you've said your company displays that define you and define the brand, and define everything you do. What is that saying, how we do anything is how we do everything?

- [Broden] Yeah.

- Or how we do everything is, one of those.

- You need to walk the talk, effectively. Like you need to be doing what you're preaching. And us as marketing companies, we gotta market. If we're not marketing, are we really a marketing company? And that's I guess part of it, but from a team perspective, we also gotta understand that when we're bringing somebody on, and I can only use my examples, is that I'm hiring people that are better at it than I am, and that's why they're there. They're there for a specific job so I need to give them that responsibility. I can't be holding onto that and overseeing it, making sure it's going all right. Like, I can to some degree, but you need to give them that complete trust that you have given them. You've hired them for this job. Let them do it and let them work through it in the way that they should. 'Cause I think from a company culture perspective, if we're always trying to belittle or change or oversee or just take the direction on everything, for one, you're gonna have a very small limit on what you can do, because you've only got so much time in a day that you could possibly do that. So as a growth perspective, you need to be able to start giving out your trust to these people, that they are going to do the job that they do. And if you've hired the right people that are aligning with your vision and your goals and your values, then you go on the same direction together. Not you going one place and they're down here. It's like, let's all go together in the same direction and make this work.

- Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And you know, I've experienced both sides of that coin, where I've got people I could trust and yeah, I can walk away from the business. But there's been times when there's been people that I cannot trust.

- Yeah, but you've learned from it, right?

- [Chris] That's right.

- You've found out what you can take away from it.

- This values stuff is where I'm at.

- [Broden] Yeah.

- And that might change, but right now it's working a treat.

- [Broden] Keep it going then.

- So, that's what we're sticking with. And another plug for the book, it's all in there. I've given up so much of what I've learned in that book, and funnily enough, I've only received the first initial copies of it. And I've had to sit down and read it, and see what's actually in there compared to what was in the original manuscript. And yeah, there's some really good stuff in there that I hope people will value.

- Well, I'm gonna have to grab a copy off you, and if I say it on camera, then you have to give it to me.

- [Chris] Right.

- Yeah, that's how it works.

- [Chris] Yeah mate, you got your wallet?

- We'll sort that out later, don't worry.

- All good, all good. So mate, might wrap it up, hey?

- [Broden] Yeah, sure.

- How do people follow you? Where you at, where you hanging out on the socials?

- Yeah, you can find us on all the socials. We're Yakk, Y-A-K-K, Digital, across the board on all socials. Probably Instagram's our most active. You get a lot of behind the scenes there. Otherwise just yeah, jump on our website. Got a bunch of stuff on there, similar to what you do. I won't plug it too much 'cause this is your thing.

- [Chris] Mate, you're here, go for it.

- As rivals, if you're gonna talk to him, come and talk to me and we'll sort it out.

- It's not about that, mate. I think it's good to talk to another agent's owner.

- [Broden] I agree.

- I think we're probably going through similar battles or have done.

- [Broden] Yeah, of course. And there's value in those stories, and for anybody else out there that's gonna have a crack, too. So, absolutely. What's your personal LinkedIn?

- Broden Johnson, so you can check me on LinkedIn there. Or again, any of the other socials. I'm across the board at Broden Johnson or Yakk Digital. Those are the two that you can find me on.

- [Chris] Excellent.

- Thanks mate.

- No worries. And thanks for watching the PROACTIVE Podcast. It's available on Apple, iTunes and on Spotify. It's also on YouTube. Just search for MeMedia on YouTube, all the episodes are there. Otherwise you can hit the memedia.com.au website. All the episodes are there, as well. And just to let you know, the book Building Brands on Purpose. The book Building Brands on Purpose that I wrote with 20 years of experience under my belt is available very soon. August 12 is the launch date. Please, please register your interest in finding out about the purchase. I will be doing a special on August 12. Register your interest at chrishogan.com.au. Thanks again, Broden.

- Thanks for having me, mate. I appreciate it.

- No, thank you, and thank you all for watching. I love hearing your feedback, and absolutely I love seeing people who share and enjoy the episodes. It truly humbles me, thank you.

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