The Art of Breaking Out with Craig McBreen

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My guest today, Andrew Davis, is a bestselling author and sought after keynote speaker. Before he co-founded, built, and sold a successful digital marketing firm, Andrew had quite a list of accomplishments. He produced for NBC’s Today Show, created programming for local television, worked for the Jim Henson Company, and wrote for Charles Kuralt. He has marketed for start-ups as well as Fortune 500 brands. And more recently, he founded Monumental Shift, the world’s first talent agency for marketing thought leaders.

Andrew and I start off the show by discussing his breakout moment—that instant in time that defined the course of his career. This moment happened in 2008 at a custom publishing conference, where he bombarded the godfather of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi with a zillion questions. Andrew knows how to get attention and he sure got Joe’s attention on that day. Because without having seen Andrew speak in front of a crowd, Joe asked him to speak at an event. This speaking event changed the course of Andrew’s life, and he soon realized that inspiring marketers and entrepreneurs to think differently was something he excelled at and enjoyed. And soon his previous experiences came together to launch a speaking and writing career he previously didn’t think possible.

We then get into the unique way he personally brands himself, including his signature glasses and bow tie. Sometimes people don’t remember his name, but they always remember the bow tie, glasses, and frenetic pace of his speeches. One thing is certain with Andrew Davis—his personal branding is working extremely well.

Next, we discuss his varied experiences—improv troop member, child actor, working for The Muppets—and how that range of experiences has helped him with his career today. Andrew then details how he got a job at the Jim Henson Company. Turns out he wrote and sent a letter every month for three years (that’s 36 letters folks). And those 36 letters got him a 30-minute meeting and a job!  So, I can’t resist telling Andrew exactly why I hate Elmo (it’s based on personal experience).

After that, we transition into how an entrepreneur can take his or her passion for something, put their own unique spin on in, and truly stand out in the marketplace. Andrew’s answer is all about combining your value, personality, and unique experience, formulating a plan, then committing to one thing and delivering it on a regular basis to an audience just waiting for what you have to offer. His advice? Get organized, embrace the journey, and look at it as a quest. The first thing might not be the “thing” but it’s a journey.

We move into something I love, those crucial brand-building steps for someone just starting out. Should they “start with Why?” How can they create a truly unique space in their market? And this just isn’t for solos. Companies should stop talking about how they are different and show the world how they are different. He talks about the Loyalty Loop and his methodology on working to truly differentiate yourself by improving the client experience.

Andrew also has a very fruitful practice of hand writing notes. He not only used hand written notes to get a job with The Muppets, he hit up the one and only Warren Buffet, sending a letter each week with a new revenue idea. He ended up being on the Today Show with Warren and they had a chat about the ins and outs of the publishing industry. The lesson? Little things like writing hand-written notes have amazing power.

Then we get back to where he is now, how he inspires marketers, and his lessons on how a company can best tell a story and through that story improve their business. Here’s one: To get rich, you’ve got to target a niche (an audience underserved in the marketplace). But you have to serve that market and create a content brand.

To wrap up, Andrew gives some great advice for someone wanting to create their own breakout brand. Have a listen. Mr. Davis has quite a bit to teach.

Questions I ask: 

  • How can a professional services firm stand out in the marketplace?
  • Should a solopreneur “start with Why” when branding their business?
  • What was it like meeting Warren Buffet?
  • How can a business effectively use storytelling?
  • How did the media world make you a better content marketer?
  • How did you come up with your great “Meatloaf Journey” presentation?

What you will learn:

  • The importance of old school practices like letter-writing.
  • Why you should view entrepreneurship as a quest (vs a series of career moves)
  • Why I hate Elmo.
  • Why you should challenge all assumptions.
  • Andrew’s spot on the Today Show with Warren Buffet.
  • Andrew’s great advice on creating a Breakout Brand.
  • To get rich, you have to target a niche (an audience underserved in the marketplace).
  • Great ways to add value to your client’s life.
  • You’ll never stand out with commodity content.

Links mentioned in the show:

Want to find out why I started the Art of Breaking Out podcast? Read this.