Chris Kneeland: Mastering Meaningful Audience Engagement

What’s the one thing some of the most successful brands like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon have in common? 

That’s brand loyalty. 

Loyal customers are the driving force behind the multi-million or billion-dollar value of these brands. Businesses or brands looking forward to making their way to the top need to focus on not only attracting new customers but also building long-lasting and healthy relationships with their already engaging ones. 

And the best way to do that is by building an emotional connection with your audience. From building a customer-centric strategy to delivering outstanding customer experiences, you need to engage your audience at each step of the way to make them feel emotionally invested.

We connected with brand expert Chris Kneeland who is the founder of the agency, Cult – where they focus on creating organic brand engagement that turns everyday customers into brand advocates.

Chris Kneeland is the CEO of Cult Collective, one of North America’s premier engagement marketing firms. His overriding professional passion is helping brands accelerate growth by reimagining how they engage consumers and employees.

He’s committed to helping courageous brand leaders embrace proven marketing principles he’s discovered while working with the most iconic, “cult-like” brands on the planet.

Chris held marketing roles at the world headquarters of John Deere and The Home Depot. He was also formerly the Head of Retail Marketing at RAPP, Omnicom’s preeminent relationship marketing agency.

He co-founded Cult in 2010 and has consulted with Harley Davidson, Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Zappos, Best Buy, HEB Grocery Stores, Carter’s, Keurig, United Way, and dozens of other brands. Throughout his career, he has lobbied for customer advocacy over acquisition, and brand engagement over entertainment. He helps clients by getting customers to buy more by buying in.

Visit Cult Collective to learn more about their audience engagement process: 

During This Episode, We Discussed:

  • Chris shares some information about his business “Cult” and shares what they have going on.
  • The reality of the digital marketing and advertising landscape
  • The importance of having the right strategy and connecting with your audience
  • How businesses are losing sight of their actual goal while trying to get their product and services out there?
  • The importance of improving customer experience, brand value proposition, and the product offering
  • Chris’ background – what made him switch from advertising to helping brands accelerate their growth via customer engagement
  • Chris talks about Red Bull and what helped the brand make their way to the top – how they focused on their marketing efforts.
  • How do Chris & team measure brand success with metrics like brand attachment and brand engagement? 
  • Discussion about brand positioning
  • Difference between successful and mediocre brands – and how successful brands approach their marketing efforts versus how mediocre brands do it?
  • Tesla’s marketing department’s focus on being 200% better
  • Yeti’s core competency and how their marketing efforts are different from others?
  • The problem with today’s marketing and advertising departments – why are they more focused on measurement over trying to understand their audience’s behaviors? 
  • Customer segmentation
  • What makes brands like Starbucks and Porsche such beloved? 
  • Chris’ experience with one of their clients 
  • What creates strong audience engagement?

Final Thoughts:

These days, most marketing agencies and businesses are directionless. Rather than trying to gain insights into what their audience feel connected to or what they love, they are laser-focused on promoting one of their products via PPC or trying to rank their page on Google. 

The harsh reality is most brands are leveling up their venture by 20% yet marketing it as 200%. That’s not how it works. Listen to our podcast to understand how you can separate yourselves from all-talk, no-action mediocre brands and build healthy and long-lasting relationships with your audience via brand engagement.

Chris shared a lot of valuable insights throughout the podcast. And I really hope you guys enjoyed today’s episode. And if you did, don’t forget to share your love and support the show by leaving a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast by Change Creator, this is your host, Dan force. If you missed the last episode, it was with somebody by the name of Sam Adams and we talked about building a media brand, they are doing some really amazing work just raised $4 million. So definitely want to check that out. It is a great conversation for anybody. But even especially if you’re kind of playing that media space a little bit, there’s a lot to, to know about building a media brand. And we should know from our own experience here at Change Creator. And this week, we’re going to be talking with somebody by the name of Chris nealon. Now he is the founder of a company called cult, right. And he’s the senior advisor to CMOS at Zappos, Harley Davidson Best Buy GoDaddy and dozens of other brands. And before he actually started the company, Colt, he was the marketing leader at john deere and Home Depot. So he has a really great perspective on branding and how we’re attracting audiences. And what what is the right way to really approach that as a brand. Okay, so we get into a really great conversation here. Now, one of the updates I wanted to share is we have a couple spots opening up in our brand studio. So I just want to throw that out there that, you know, if you are ready to develop your brand authority, and start setting your site up to scale, we love to just kind of see where you’re at with your business and have that conversation. So you would talk directly with me just go to it’s it’s studio dot Change you just visit there and you can learn more about what we do, but also book a strategy call. And we’ll just have that conversation to see if you’re a good fit. We don’t take everybody. And we have we’ve had a full roster for a while. So we just have a couple spots opening up and we’re ready to take on some some new accounts. So if you’re ready for that step and your business, we know there’s a lot we will do to support you to really create a online presence that you’re really proud of that creates a really good first impression builds trust all these important things, but it’s also set up on the back end to scale. Meaning as traffic comes in, you’re selling you’re scaling. We also get into supporting you with your path to purchase which is your sales funnel systems. So takes a lot of the headache away for you. And we love doing that stuff. And so we’d love to hear from you. So just stop by Studio Change. Alright, let’s get into this conversation with Chris. Okay, show me the heat on No, you got to do this. Hey, Chris, welcome to the show today. How’s everything going?

Chris Kneeland  3:19  

I’m doing really great Adam, and doing even better getting to chat with you for a little bit.

Adam G. Force  3:24  

I appreciate it. Yeah, it looks like you guys are doing some cool stuff. Interesting name. Cool. Tell me about that.

Chris Kneeland  3:30  

Well, cool. It was intentionally provocative, and it was designed to change the goalposts about what businesses we’re really trying to do. Most businesses, we’re trying to get customers. And frankly, we’re just not that interested. We caught last fall, or it was so much more interesting was like a customer on steroids. And yet not many businesses were pursuing that level of fandom. And so we decided, let’s help them and let’s inspire them for what’s truly possible.

Adam G. Force  4:05  

Gotcha. Interesting. So I’m curious what’s exciting today? Like what, what is going on in your world that Colton, with the business that has been exciting, and then we’ll kind of get a little backstory on how you got there?

Chris Kneeland  4:22  

Well, I mean, I think what’s exciting is the, the daunting pneus of the challenge, which is we’re trying to reverse, I think society’s over dependence on mass media and markdowns in order to grow their businesses. The paid media landscape in particular has grown by over $100 billion since we started our business, which is a glaring reminder of how woefully we’re failing and helping people understand that these little quick fix elixirs that the Facebook’s or the the television or the media buyers of the world are trying to sell are not actually as substantive or as effective as as we’re led to believe.

Adam G. Force  5:06  

Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great point. Um, and because I, I do work with a lot of entrepreneurs in our brand accelerator and things like that, and there’s an eagerness to throw money at areas where there they have may have a weakness, right. So if we’re looking for traffic, and we need eyeballs, but that’s not their expertise, it’s just I’m gonna run Pay Per Click ads, I’m gonna run Facebook ads. And as I’m sure you know, when you don’t do the legwork have the right strategy, not only just burning that money, but you haven’t developed an organic, like real system where you’re really connecting with people and nurturing a core group of people, right?

Chris Kneeland  5:55  

Yeah, 100%, it’s, it’s nobody needs most of what we’re chasing, nobody needs a Facebook page, nobody needs a website, nobody needs a commercial, nobody needs a coupon. We create those as solutions to get to what we really need, which is profit, and traction, right. And, and I get, I get discouraged that we seem to lose sight of the goal, like the number of clients that we’ve chatted with, or work with, that are doing chasing profit through the lens of 50% off sales. And it’s like, well, that’s doing the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. What we love about coke brands is cold brands, not only sell a disproportionate merchandise at full price, they typically sell at a premium price point, which that’s what marketing should be doing. Marketing should be maximizing your margin, not minimizing your margin. And some of the things that minimize margin are not only discounts, but excessive GMA expenses that go into paid media. So I think if we just ask smarter questions, we’ll get to better more substitute answers. And and frankly, more rewarding thing, improving the customer experience improving the brand value proposition improving the product offering is more enjoyable anyway, right? Once you get over the ego of seeing your, your brand on television for the first time, or some superbowl commercial, or some video that goes viral, you realize that that’s pretty superficial and oftentimes completely uncorrelated with the actual performance of your business.

Adam G. Force  7:35  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s, I love what you’re saying. And I’m curious where, so how did you get into this category of work and supporting brands in this way? Can you just give us a little bit of background on that?

Chris Kneeland  7:51  

I mean, the controversial answer is I say that I grew a conscience. Basically, I was, I was in the advertising industry for many, many years. And I was frustrated at the ways that clients would throw money at things that we sold with, we knowing full well, it wasn’t going to solve the problem. It just made the client happy, because it felt like they were doing something, right. They were being busy. But they weren’t being productive. And it just got to the point that we were tired of taking the client’s money to do a solution that wasn’t going to work. And we were tired of not even being asked the right question, because most of the time in the ad agency business clients solve the problem. And then they ask the agency to make it go sound good or look pretty right? That you’re in the storytelling business. You’re not in the problem solving business. And we didn’t even have really a

Adam G. Force  8:54  

Chris, I lost you there. Oh, you’re back

Chris Kneeland  8:56  

waiting for me. No, I’m sorry. I was saying we didn’t even have a seat at the big kid table. As an ad agency. We were just waiting for the client to figure out what they wanted to do. Turn it into a creative brief so that we can go make a media message plan to go solve it and I wanted to be more at the table we were debating whether we even needed an ad campaign or not. Yeah, I’m gonna stop my video ad and just to help with our internet bandwidth here.

Adam G. Force  9:26  

Oh, this is B. Okay. So we use video and audio. We can go in the audience. Okay.

Chris Kneeland  9:31  

Well, you tell me if it if we have to repeat something. Okay. No

Adam G. Force  9:35  

worries. No worries. Yeah, I’ll shout out if it gets too dodgy. I’m just gonna write down a quick timestamp there. Just edit that problem. Yeah. So, I mean, I like the thinking here. So I like to talk a little bit more deeply on the process. I know you have a Top Level process outlined on your site. So in the spirit of, you know, you know I like I forget who said if they said Why be liked when you can be loved and the guy that worked with Red Bull and monster and all those guys with their marketing and branding, they were really focused not on big brand awareness, they were focused on creating really strong relationships to a point where the few people would tattoo monster on their skin because they loved the brand, so much. So it’s like, they were really cool, like nurturing a small circle of people that became marketing power for them. And I’m curious on your process for kind of leaning into this direction that that you’re talking about, what does that look like to as a shift from just throwing money at the problem?

Chris Kneeland  10:49  

Two things first, one of the things that I love about Red Bull, Well, two things I love about Red Bull First, we know their cmo, I guess we don’t know their current cmo, we honored Red Bull in our year one of an event that we do every year called the gathering, which hopefully we’ll be able to talk about. But as we got to know Red Bull in order to give them this recognition as being one of America North America’s most beloved coke brands, we really learned that the marketing department was never once asked by the finance department. If we spend this money, how many more cans of Red Bull Are we going to sell. They didn’t use marketing as a can selling device. They viewed retail distribution, as it can selling a tactic they views they viewed marketing as a creator of brand demand. And that brands sometimes manifested itself in the sale of more product. And other times it manifested itself in the nurturing of this tribe or community. And what it’s done most recently, which is what I really love about them, it’s resulted in alternative revenue streams, where Red Bulls marketing is not a call center, red, Red Bulls marketing is a revenue generated. And these events that they produce in the social media content they produce, generates income in an above sales of caffeinated beverages. And that to me is like how many marketing departments actually have a p&l? Right? Very few. Most of them are just spin, spin spin, they don’t earn, earn earn, other than the things that they’re promoting. So that just shows you the league that Red Bulls in it’s a head and shoulders above everybody else. You know, to answer your other question, you know, we didn’t, all we really did was observe and document, the playbooks of the world’s most cult like brands. We had read a book years ago from Jim Collins called good degrade It was kind of like the MBA book of the early 2000s. And we were just impressed. And we identified highly desirable businesses as evidence through exceptional stock performance. And then tried to pattern match just tried to reverse engineer, what were these businesses doing the businesses that didn’t enjoy exponential stock growth, what what they weren’t doing so we did that exact same exercise, we just didn’t use stock performance as our indicator we use the metric called brand attachment, or brand engagement, sometimes it’s referred to and that was done by a different group out of New York. That was studying brand engagement. for 30 years, they had hundreds and hundreds of businesses that were ranked by categories, ie what’s the most engaging, streaming service was the most engaging car was the most. It’s called brand keys, you can look up it’s called their consumer loyalty and engagement index, the CL II II study. So when we found that we simply said, well, that’s the scorecard. brands are doing at the top of the list. So we just started calling them. We start doing the research of asking and evaluating and observing, what were these brands doing that their mediocre competition wasn’t doing? And we documented it all. So we wrote that first down in a book we then started talking about at this event every year called The Gathering. And then we built a whole consultancy around it at our agency now called collective to just teach people what those principles are.

Adam G. Force  14:24  

Yeah, that’s interesting. And I’m a big fan of Red Bull too. And they are a brand that really has leaned into like living their story, everything they do is pretty powerful through the extreme sports and all that kind of stuff. So every touchpoint is very consistent and well done so. So I guess, can you can you share, like when you’re going through your process, he talked about positioning and things like that. Can we talk a little bit about positioning in the marketplace and I’m trying I’d like to give people listening a little ittle bit of a sense of what role these pieces of the puzzle play in actually creating your, your loyal fans, right, your cult following, if you will, using your name and how that works. Can you make a connection for us on on that?

Chris Kneeland  15:19  

Yeah, I think positioning is the articulation of what is the most distinct and desirable part of your business. That positioning is synonymous with like, enviable differentiation, Why us? Right? What I think is, and positioning statements oftentimes become copywriting exercises when they should be. They should be business strategy exercises. Yeah, because there’s two parts of that equation distinct and desirable, right? So distinct means. This is why I’m different than all the other choices. And very few businesses are not overwhelmed with viable choices, right? I mean, you just think take hamburgers as an example and pick any hamburger chain. Any one of them could go out of business. And it’s not like people would stop eating hamburgers, they would go find a decent substitute, right? Because they’re just all really pretty good, right? There’s very, it’s very rare to find, you know, the one that’s so exceptional or the one that’s so horrible, right, right. So that commoditization, particularly in North America makes the distinctiveness part very difficult. And the reality is, there’s not a lot of distinction. It’s why 95% of new products fail within the first 36 months is it come out with the new ranch dressing with a hint more peppercorn? It’s like really, there’s already 19 choices on the aisle right now for ranch dressing. I didn’t need that one, right. And then the second part is desirability, because you can be different. But it doesn’t mean that you’re better, right? Yeah, you might, you might lean into something that’s distinctly different, but that’s distinctly different on purpose. like nobody wanted that. And so you providing it, it’s not actually solving a legitimate need, right. So I remember Ilan Musk, with you know, Tesla’s one of our favorite quote brands, and has built just this remarkable, you know, sort of challenger brand, not just to any brand, but to all traditional automotive companies. And he talked a lot about the entrepreneurial challenge is that there’s too much mediocre advantage, like too many things, or 20%. Better. Like if Tesla was a 20%, better Prius, Tesla would fail. Tesla had to be a 200%, better Prius in order to do what it’s doing, and that marketing’s job is to create things that are 200% better, not 20% better with advertising that makes it seem like it’s 200% better. And that’s what most mediocre brands are. They’re like we’re mediocre. So let’s create other distractions to feel people into thinking that we’re actually better and we’re just like, Why Why don’t we stand the reality is it’s because most marketers don’t even have the skill sets to do it anymore. most marketers are advertisers. And most advertisers are storytellers and designers and writers and so they’re not really getting into the customer journey and getting into the product experience and getting into the brand purpose. And some of the things that they’re not getting into even just managing tribes of consumers. One of my favorite brands is Yeti, Yeti, you know, they don’t have channel managers they’re not trying to maximize their email or their website convert I shouldn’t say they’re not of course they are. But they’re their core competency is a business is managing a segment of people. So they have you know, customer segment managers who understand rodeo or surfing or snowboarding and they try to add value into those communities if necessary, evil or maybe some outsource service. Yeah, now we got to, you know, do some SEO work or we got to do some email work or we got to buy some print ads, right? But that’s the opposite, right? Most most companies spend all their time perfecting their channel management and neglecting the customer segments that they serve.

Adam G. Force  19:18  

Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I mean, the channel management becomes the obsession for winning versus and that’s really the accelerator so throwing gasoline on the fire versus you know, after you have mastered managing your customer base, like you’re saying, right? So if we neglect that part of it, and then all of a sudden it becomes really hard to win in the marketing space because you’re just trying to find the right story, find the right you know, colors and all these different things to make people convert sales and it becomes this big headache that’s like an ongoing frustration and a lot of money gets spent trying to figure it all out. And maybe you get lucky with a sales funnel that works out really well. For you, but to what you’re saying, the core competency should be, how are you building relationships with the right people knowing the customer journey? How are you positioning the market? So there’s like the, the, the iceberg underneath the water, right? That big strategic part. But everybody’s so focused on the superficial stuff. That’s really just the accelerants, right?

Chris Kneeland  20:20  

Well, what’s worse, I think, I mean accelerant is an interesting metaphor, but the biggest problem is, there’s still piss poor attribution. So we’re using flawed data to optimize these channels. And we’re giving credit to the SEO team for an online conversion, when in reality, it was something else that the consumer experience that caused them to type in the keyword in the first place that resulted in the conversion, right. And so we it gives us this false positive where because we think we can measure something, we can optimize it, and I’m not against measurement. I just think we need to be a little bit more candid about what the actual influencers of behavior are, and and in understanding those audiences and understand the insights into what those audiences need, is where it means to start and not not enough businesses start there and honestly determine if we’re the best position to satisfy that or not. Yeah. And so that’s why we get so many mediocre things today.

Adam G. Force  21:24  

Yeah, I mean, that makes sense. And I’m curious on what your thought process is for identifying the right customers for a specific product. So I’m sure you get clients where they come in, I’m sure they’re actively selling already. If not, I don’t think you’re working with people who are just starting. So they’re actively selling, and maybe they have decent marketing, right? The channel management, so they’re getting some sales, but you then get a look under the hood. And you’re like, Well, I think we could do a lot better with our, our customer base. And you should actually be like, do you ever have to tweak and pivot the customer strategy? to

Chris Kneeland  22:07  

that? I mean that yeah, that’s where we’ll start. We’ll start there before we’ll start optimizing a channel. I mean, I’ll give your listeners a little hack. Yeah. If any part of your customer segmentation is demographic based, you’re screwed. We invented demographic based segmentation, because that’s how media was selling itself. Yeah. Right. And so this TV show friends attract 18 to 25 year olds. And so we want to say, Well, if I want to be on friends, I better find out if my audience is 18 to 25, like the tail wagging the dog. We don’t create segmentation to buy media. We should be buying media to serve the audience’s that we’re looking to cater to and media sucks and doing anything more psychopathic, you know, things like print or whatnot, get into at least some lifestyle preferences, I cycle where I love dogs, or like bodybuilders start to take, you know, cater to some sort of an interest. But no, the best segmentation studies are there. They’re almost more like personality tests. You don’t you don’t ask people do you like this? Or do you like that? You know, do you want to read? Or do you want to ping customers don’t know, you have to triangulate it, you have to infer their preferences based on their values, based on the things that they’re aspiring towards, based on you know, you’re looking at something like Starbucks, if Starbucks had started asking people Hey, instead of that dollar cup of coffee, you’re getting from dunkin donuts. Do you want to pay $6? For my coffee? Nobody is going to say yes, right? But when you start to understand what people were missing, which was I need in Starbucks, you know, people walk around that Starbucks cup, it’s a badge, it’s a it’s a it’s a treat, it’s it’s an indicator that I can afford a little indulgence in my life, right? And that’s what it’s satisfying. It’s making them feel special about themselves in a way that MC cafe never makes them feel sad. So and we got to understand that we’re dealing with emotionally irrational situations. You know, nobody buys a Porsche because they did something on a spreadsheet that made it make sense to Porsche because you want one right? Then you’ll rationalize it to your wife however you want to but that’s not what got you into the dealership. And so you got to until you’re playing at that level of truly what the motivators are, which requires that you ask different kinds of questions, and that you speak to values, not your value that we like to tell brands, and you talk more about what you stand for, than what you sell. What you sell is what’s commoditize that’s transaction, what you stand for, is how people are making their decisions. For most things, you know, not not for everything, you know, maybe not your home electricity, maybe not your toilet paper, maybe not the copier at the office. Yeah, but but over 70% of the buying decisions. We make are made emotionally first and justify rationally after the fact.

Adam G. Force  25:05  

Yeah, and I think that’s such a great point. You know, it’s funny how people get hung up on demographics and stuff. And you know, I literally just had a call with a client this morning. And the whole, you know, perfect customer persona was more about I was like, these are human beings and like, we need to know beyond what their interest is in your product, like, Who are they? How do they feel about things? What are their ambitions in life, like what’s important to them, and we go really, really deep to your point, too, because this is what I think, you know, to your point, we’re trying to align to beliefs and understand what people are looking for. Right? That’s important to them. I like the Starbucks example, I think that’s a really good way to put it, and there was something missing in their life. So I guess that leads me to my next question, which is, have you ever worked with a client where it’s like, well, these are the people that are really interested in this category that you kind of own right? And what if their product really isn’t filling the need, as it should, once you really identify that customer?

Chris Kneeland  26:08  

Yeah, a client comes to mind that’s in the premium pet food category. And they, over the course of the years, let the retailer determine part of their portfolio, and they ended up creating a bit of a dog’s breakfast, pun intended, have too many brands and too many subcategories. And they in some of them had conflict with each others. If you are going for a certain type of pet diet, then you wouldn’t have to choose you know which one of these were the existed because they had private label strategies. They had wholesale strategies, they had direct to consumer strategies, they had retail strategies. And so it was almost like the operations of the business created unnecessary confusion in the marketplace for consumers, who, frankly, their mindset was not this is food for my dog. It was this is how I care for the equivalent of my child like these were doting pet parents who were spending more calories thinking about the well being of your my dog eats his own vomit, I never really thought that much about what I’m feeding him because he just never seemed that picky. He just eats whatever he can get his hand here, right? So I’ve always been like the 20 on the 50 pound bag at the cheapest possible price, kind of sure. But in working with this client, I realized that there are people who treat this animal You know, they’re they’re serving them raw steak at night. Like there’s like the way that this animal is eating is better than how I’m eating. Yeah, right. And so that that requires like you’re doing your brand a huge disservice if you aren’t exploiting that level of care and nurture that certain people want to have for their animal partly because the animal needs it. And partly because that’s gonna make them feel much better about themselves. Yeah, right for the way that they’re able to demonstrate this love in these people that buy $14 treats when they come home from work, just because of the guilt. They feel that their dog’s been, you know, trapped inside all day. Yeah, yeah, exploit that you can make a lot of money on people that are living with that sort of guilt. Right? And so unless you don’t know that those are the motivators, you’re leaving a lot of margin on the table.

Adam G. Force  28:26  

Yeah. So So based on that kind of discovery, I’ll call it. clients that you’ve worked at such as especially they will start rethinking some of that, does that make them rethink the product or just how they’re positioning the product,

Chris Kneeland  28:44  

it makes them rethink at who their customer truly is? Both in terms of the type of end user, but also who’s going to be making the decisions? Is it going to be their retailers, even their franchisee? Is it going to be the end user? Because you can have marketing departments that cater to all those different groups, and they may end up fighting for resources and everybody’s kind of at war with each other as opposed to working towards a common good? Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, yes, absolutely. worms are fully Americain case they needed to discontinue some brands and they needed to simplify and streamline I’m reminded that famous quote was Steve Jobs talking with the head of Nike back in the day. And Steve said, Listen, you make a lot of good stuff, but you make a lot of bad stuff, too. I need to stop making the bad stuff and only focus on the Nike was like well, you know, that’s a problem for them because they kind of had this good, better best distribution play and, but that’s what Steve did when he came back to Apple the second time as he’s often said, his greatest strength as a CEO was the things he said no to. Yeah, not the invention of the iPhone, but all the other cool things they could have done, but they wouldn’t have been uniquely distinct and desirable. And so they just got out

Adam G. Force  29:54  

of Yeah, yeah. So in summary, I’d like to just give people like we kind of dug into some really important stuff on how to think about your brand. As far as audience engagement goes, I mean, right here on your homepage, we are audience engagement experts. How would you summarize what creates strong audience engagement,

Chris Kneeland  30:19  

strong audience engagement will, the easiest way to think about the definition is to think about the symptoms of a strongly engaged audience is that is going to buy more product more often at higher margin, right. So we spend all of our energy just going getting more customers. And that’s, that’s appropriate to get more customers, it’s inappropriate to spend most of your time trying to do that, because getting existing customers to buy more product more often at higher margin is an equally profitable proposition, it is easier to do. And if you do it, well, they will go get more customers for you. And what we’re really trying to create is that word of mouth and that advocacy, as well, as they’re going to just make you better, they’re going to give you ratings and reviews, and they’re going to give you feedback, they’re going to answer your surveys, they’re going to complain. And that’s great, because that’s gonna make you better if you’re listening. If your culture is such that those are nuisances, I was calling pods just to give them a shout out here at the moving company thing. And the call center experience was delightful. In contrast to the airlines, and my credit card company, and people that make it seem like calling me is inconveniencing them, pods made it seem like we are set up to receive this phone call, because we want to hear from you. Something that simple, has made me now talk about pods on a podcast with you, right? It’s like it’s a shame that it’s the exception, not the rule, that now having good feedback loops is a critical part of the customer experience. So I think that most people would admit that having sort of this non commissioned sales force of customers that are out there raving about you to others is desirable. But then you’re also going to have to confess you’re probably not spending enough calories thinking about or you’re not spending enough money generating that sort of word of mouth, you’re kind of just hoping that it happens, as opposed to engineering into your business experience.

Adam G. Force  32:19  

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, and I think, you know, that really comes down to you know, as you’re going through your brand strategist, what is that company culture and I think those people who have the coop throw you through a loop on those automated phones and stuff like that, that That, to me is a sign of poor company, culture and leadership in the company, because if you really cared, it would be more like pods who now you’re talking about, right? So that customer experiences is so important, and they’re neglecting that so Chris, I appreciate it. Man, where can people learn more about what you’re doing and connect?

Chris Kneeland  32:52  

No, probably the easiest thing is to just visit Colt On that web page, you can get a bunch of free content, you can take a score an assessment where you get a scorecard of how coke capable your businesses you can find tickets for the gathering, which is an annual celebration, where you don’t have to listen to me you just listen to the heads of like Marvel the Dallas Cowboys or Levi’s talk about the things that they did to become exceptional as well as you can get a copy of our book there. So we tried to we’re doing our best to shout from the rooftops that we have seen a better way and we want more people to kind of discover what we have.

Adam G. Force  33:32  

Awesome and really appreciate your time talking about it today and sharing all your ideas and thoughts in the work that you’re doing.

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