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Episode 18: How to Avoid the 3 Things Holding Most Family Businesses Back

In this episode of the Family Business Show, hosted by Michael Palumbos, listeners were treated to an insightful discussion with guests Meghan Lynch from Six-Point Creative and Ruth Lund from the Legacy Center. Meghan and Ruth shared their expertise on the significance of brand strategy and culture in family businesses, offering valuable perspectives on how these elements contribute to a company's success.

Meghan Lynch detailed her journey with Six-Point Creative, emphasizing the firm's focus on brand strategy for second-stage companies. She highlighted the importance of evolving brand identity to keep pace with market demands while respecting a company's legacy. Meghan discussed the common challenges family businesses face, such as fear, ego, and the inability to focus due to abundant opportunities. She stressed the importance of alignment between a company's internal culture and external brand message, illustrating how consistent branding and genuine customer experiences can significantly impact a business's growth and customer retention.

Ruth Lund shared insights into the transformative power of a well-defined and intentional company culture. She explained how the Legacy Center aids businesses in developing a culture that aligns with their values and vision, ultimately leading to improved employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Ruth highlighted the necessity of clear communication and consistency in upholding a company's culture and values, asserting that such dedication can lead to a thriving and resilient organization.

The conversation underscored the interconnectedness of brand strategy and company culture in sustaining a family business's legacy and ensuring its continued success. Both Meghan and Ruth provided practical advice and examples, demonstrating how businesses can achieve clarity and consistency in their brand and culture, fostering an environment that attracts loyal customers and dedicated employees.

Listeners can connect with Meghan Lynch on LinkedIn or through Six-Point Creative's website, and Ruth Lund is also available on LinkedIn or via the Legacy Center's website for those seeking further information or wishing to engage their services in enhancing their family business's brand and culture.

Episode 18 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Oh, welcome everybody to the family business show. My name is Michael Columbus. I'll be your host today with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And today I am excited to introduce everyone to Megan Lynch from six point creative and Ruth Lund President over at the legacy Center. Welcome, how are you. How are you both today.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Doing great. Happy to be here.

 

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Ruth Lund: Thanks for the invite. Michael

 

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Michael Palumbos: What I what I like to do is allow each of you to take a minute or two to kind of talk about your journey and how you ended up you know working in the space of

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, working with family business leaders and multi generation families. How did that come about for you. So Megan, would you mind. Kicking us off.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Sure. So I started six point creative in 2007 just as the the market was crashing and

 

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Meghan Lynch: And we grew organically for a few years just through doing good work and providing good value and through our own network and is really in the past couple of years that we've started specializing so we're a brand strategy agency and we we started specializing in

 

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Meghan Lynch: What are known as second stage companies so so companies that have survived startup and have you know

 

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Meghan Lynch: kind of gone along, much like we had when we started up and you start to kind of create a brand and reputation and start to build build organically and then at some point you just kind of get to a plateau and

 

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Meghan Lynch: Kind of what got you here won't get you there. And you have to reinvent yourself. And it was kind of what we went through as a company and I started to realize that

 

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Meghan Lynch: That companies in my peer groups, including a lot of family businesses were experiencing a lot of those same pains and frustrations and so obviously we look at it from a brand strategy standpoint.

 

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Meghan Lynch: But a lot of the patterns and and frustrations of companies who have kind of hit those plateaus are the same. And the more I started to see the patterns, the more I was like oh

 

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Meghan Lynch: We could totally help these companies. And right now, they're not being particularly well served or being

 

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Meghan Lynch: Like thoughtfully and intentionally served and and also there was this feeling of also like

 

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Meghan Lynch: These are my people like they're trying to build something that lasts. They're not kind of falling into this like entrepreneurial

 

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Meghan Lynch: fad that we have now of, like, let's spin something up and sell it.

 

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Meghan Lynch: But instead, they're really trying to build a legacy to build something that's going to endure. And I think when you're doing that.

 

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Meghan Lynch: There's a different kind of consideration that you have to make in a different kind of strategic headset that you have to have and

 

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Meghan Lynch: And it was just I think just a lot of fun working with people who their hearts and souls and families and everything else are really tied up in the success of our work. So the stakes feel higher which feels more exciting and also the work feels more impactful and real, I guess.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Nice. You know what, what I like. I'm excited about having you on here on the show is because a lot of times we bring in the family business expert and you come at it from a totally different perspective for us and it's more on that brand side of things.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But yet you've been exposed to family businesses and the dynamics. So often the you have that unique insight to say, you know, what do we do from a branding perspective, so welcome. Thanks for sharing with us. Thanks roof.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You're up. Tell us about yourself. How did you get working in the in this field.

 

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Ruth Lund: Yeah. Thanks so much, Michael. So the legacy Center is a firm that comes alongside business owners business leaders to help them.

 

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Ruth Lund: Bring some intentionality some measurement and process to how they're shaping the culture that's in their organization and so

 

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Ruth Lund: As you can imagine,

 

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Ruth Lund: Our we actually grew out of a holding company. Let me back up a little bit and say our work grew out of a holding company where the CEO was really looking to build an authentic values driven culture we we didn't want to have just words on the wall.

 

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Ruth Lund: We wanted to make sure that across our 50 locations in the US and Canada, our leadership was really growing in more in deeper alignment.

 

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Ruth Lund: In how they behaved and did they actually have the skills and capacity to walk the talk with our values and so we brought measurement and accountability, but also

 

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Ruth Lund: Development, you know. So here's what's working, here's what the gaps are and we actually began to see over the years we measured for while I was in that company we we measured for

 

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Ruth Lund: Seven years and they're still measuring today. By the way, but but measured the consistent growth toward higher Cultural Health and values alignment. So it was really working.

 

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Ruth Lund: And we knew that there had to be other business leaders out there that were trying to get their arms around their culture.

 

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Ruth Lund: But, you know, where do you even start. And so being able to bring some kind of metric that really had some that brought some clarity to what was happening in the organization around the values and then you know move toward it became really

 

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Ruth Lund: Really powerful and. And then the last thing I'll just say is, as we put our shingle out back in 2014 to share this work with other business leaders.

 

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Ruth Lund: It's no surprise that some of our clients have been family owned businesses. These are people who

 

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Ruth Lund: Having you know deep values and tradition in their businesses reflected is very important to them. And as they're preparing for that next generation.

 

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Ruth Lund: Sort of trying to codify what what is it really about what has made us so special.

 

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Ruth Lund: What do we want to hold on to. And then obviously that next gen opportunity to them, say, and where do we evolve to what do we, you know, how do we hang on to what is so critically

 

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Ruth Lund: Secret Sauce about us. And then, what's that next evolution as well. And so, you know, being able to foster those kinds of healthy dialogue has been, you know, part of the work that we do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Nice. So the two of you have worked together before correct that I get them.

 

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Ruth Lund: So we are launching we are launching actually we're in the midst of it, of a collaborative offering that is marrying the the

 

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Ruth Lund: The measurement and and the illumination of values, the values

 

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Ruth Lund: driven culture within organizations and then how does that authentic culture, then transcend into the brand that you're putting out there in a

 

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Ruth Lund: Deeply authentic way. So it's kind of that marriage and we, you know, Megan and I share a lot of really bedrock philosophical concepts and we just thought we would put this out there and and see if there's some some help that we can do and bringing that to other organizations.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love it. I just think that that's such a unique offering to bring to bring together. That's why I want to make sure that that's that I had that right. I remember reading in think it was the Ernst and Young, the family business report from

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I may get this wrong, but the m&m Mars family just you know how values driven, they have been for generations. And you know the the focus on

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know the values in their relationships with their employees is, you know, throughout the family and with their vendors and suppliers, it was really important that you know that they, you know,

 

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Michael Palumbos: Send them across the the entire section of every part of their business. They would rather lose money than give up their values and what they were doing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So thank you again. Thank you, looking forward to this. Um, the title of today's show is called. You know how to avoid the three things, holding most family businesses back

 

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Michael Palumbos: What I be letting it out of the bag if we just kind of talk about those three things. First, and then we'll dig into them each one a little bit deeper.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Good, yeah. I mean, I think, at least in what what i see with family businesses and kind of when they're trying to

 

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Meghan Lynch: Break through a plateau and kind of figure out, okay, how do we keep this business thriving. How do we keep it growing. How do we keep it relevant

 

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Meghan Lynch: A lot of the things that that are really holding them back from making those transformational brand strategy decisions and kind of those leaps that are going to really get them from, you know, one stage to the next stage, our fear.

 

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Meghan Lynch: It's a lot of fear of customer loss of fear of tradition, a feel of we're going to lose who we are, which again I think is one of the reasons why you know it made sense for us to partner with Ruth of, like, you know, figure out who you are so that you don't lose it.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And and and fear of making a mistake because because the changes that we're often helping companies make

 

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Meghan Lynch: Are not things that you do every day, there are things that you know happen maybe you know once or twice in the lifetime of a company, even if that company is you know 60 100 years olds

 

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Meghan Lynch: That you don't rebrand very often. Are you don't reposition yourself very often, or you don't do major launches really often

 

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Meghan Lynch: So, so that that fear of messing things up, you know, losing the legacy losing what we've built kind of being the one to kind of drop the torch, I think.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Our big real fears that all business owners have but I feel like at least I've seen being especially prevalent in family businesses so. So fear is definitely one

 

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Meghan Lynch: Thing ego is the other that, you know, especially if there's like an owner founder involved that there's this, you know, again, a sense of like, you know, I'm I have to kind of like hold tightly to this and if I let other people in and let people make changes that somehow

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know I'm going to be diminished or the company is going to be diminished in some way and

 

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Meghan Lynch: And it just becomes again more about an individual or multiple individuals in the company than it does about a common vision for the future.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And then the, the third I think is, is kind of the interesting one, where it's almost like opportunity too much opportunity can actually hold people back I think particularly for entrepreneurial visionary types.

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know, and I speak for myself like I see opportunity everywhere and are a lot of our clients are like that to have, like, you know, every, every person needs their product.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Every company needs their service. They could help everybody with five bucks in their pocket if they would only let them and

 

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Meghan Lynch: And that kind of seeing so much opportunity stops you from focusing so that kind of like like seeing too much.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Actually can can really like not let people focus, which then again becomes really hard to make transformation or to make decisions or give people guardrails to figure out what to do next.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Make sense, and I, I know some people maybe that have, you know, fallen trap to that themselves. So I appreciate that. That's the moment we changed to say we only serve family on businesses.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It was one of the scariest decisions that I ever made. It's also been the most fruitful and meaningful and impactful. It's really, really changed. You know who we are. So that's great. Ruth, why don't you

 

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Michael Palumbos: Take off, you know, where do you want to jump in about fear and ego, you know, and the involvement inside of the family business.

 

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Ruth Lund: Well, you know, Michael every organization has fear and ego and lack of clarity to greater and lesser degrees, but how it relates to a family owned businesses, you know, I would say. Sometimes it's much more emotionally tapped.

 

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Ruth Lund: And there's a lot more complication around being able to have the important dialogues to uncover. You know what's what's really at the root of this fear based behavior that we're seeing.

 

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Ruth Lund: You know what's at the root of an are we seeing, you know, ego coming to the fore and tamping out the reality conversations, you know, are we getting too scattered and so

 

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Ruth Lund: Having mechanisms where you can kind of uncover what reality is in your organization. And we really we hold to the mantra that reality is our friend.

 

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Ruth Lund: And anything less than that's going to hurt us. You and I were talking earlier about a book that we actually bring forward to some of our clients. It's called

 

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Ruth Lund: Integrity by Dr. Henry cloud. And I love the subtitle, because he gets right at it. The subtitle is the courage to face the demands of reality.

 

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Ruth Lund: And so when you're doing culture work with a family owned business, what you're doing is creating a safe container.

 

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Ruth Lund: To take a look at what's some of the reality pieces around fear based behavior around ego around lack of clarity, you know any of these things that are basically mucking up the wheels and not allowing you to soar.

 

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Ruth Lund: As an organization. And so we're really big into just creating healthy, safe productive conversations and obviously when you've got all of the layers of family involved.

 

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Ruth Lund: Having someone to help create those safe conversations, and I'm sure in your work, you know, that's a big part of what you guys do too is, you know, to, you know, to create that safe container and really get at it you know what's getting in our way. What's the reality we got to look at. Great.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Megan, you and I, when we were when we spoke and you know get introduced to one another.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Again, I'm really intrigued by the by the brand piece. And so the the thing that I remember was you talking about the the product.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Labeling, you know, how are the, you know, the way the design. It was gramma created that, you know, and I think that feeds right into this fear and the ego and you know peace, you mind sharing that story or, you know, can you pick up on that.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah, sure. So, a week ago we worked with with number of family businesses over the years and

 

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Meghan Lynch: At one point, all of them were startups right like like kind of doing the bootstrap thing. And, you know, creating the the brand and the marketing and kind of the reputation of the company.

 

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Meghan Lynch: With whatever they had. And so often. By the time we're working with companies. They're the symbols of who they are, their logos their colors, all of those things have gotten kind of wrapped up in that legacy

 

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Meghan Lynch: But, you know, we were working with a family business, you know, just this past year and

 

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Meghan Lynch: It. It was interesting. We knew that they were a family company. We knew that it was a second generation. And we knew that they were, you know, looking for some pretty aggressive growth over the next few years. But it wasn't until partway through the process that we learned that

 

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Meghan Lynch: That their mom had actually designed the logo that we were being tasked with updating and so it's one of those things of, like, just not knowing quite how loaded

 

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Meghan Lynch: Things are that it's like, oh, you know, we think we're making you know

 

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Meghan Lynch: Design recommendations strategic recommendations about what's going to sell well at retail to make this package really pop and to communicate well with customers and

 

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Meghan Lynch: To this company like we're basically saying like, you know, this thing that your, your mom created was is not effective. It's not good.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And without even really knowing that we were saying that. So I think it's where, you know, understanding that

 

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Meghan Lynch: That you can take the essence and the DNA, like we do a lot of work with our clients to figure out like

 

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Meghan Lynch: What is the DNA of your company and by DNA, we're talking about, like, do not alter like these are things that are sacred that you can't touch that must live from one generation to the next, of this brand like they cannot change.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And we can, if we know what those things are. And we can talk about them and kind of hold them out and all look at them together, then we can figure out creative ways

 

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Meghan Lynch: To allow kind of like let's say the spirit of this logo or some of the elements of the logo to persist, like in this, you know, it was, it was a very round logo that was

 

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Meghan Lynch: problematic because it was so tightly designed that you couldn't like unpack it and use it in different ways you can have a horizontal treatment or a square up for

 

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Meghan Lynch: That would read well for an icon and social media. So what was created and made sense. You know, again,

 

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Meghan Lynch: 20 plus years ago just doesn't work in today's design world that doesn't meet the needs, but we could take kind of like the concept of a circular shape.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And pull that through and make their label round, even if the logo isn't around anymore and keep the color intact and keep some of the elements of the logo.

 

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Meghan Lynch: That are still there and try to keep

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know, kind of elements of the personality intact. So I think that if you can identify what is so critical, and have that open conversation about what what don't we want to see lost. What are we afraid of is going to be lost in this generation and

 

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Meghan Lynch: And creatively work on solutions to make sure that that stays intact. You can have a lot more successful evolution that doesn't make people go, like, oh no, you've changed.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Who we are like that's not us anymore. And instead of

 

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Meghan Lynch: Persuasion so

 

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Michael Palumbos: A lot i love it i think you know one of the things that I remember through branding and marketing classes that I've been in before is you need to make sure that your look and feel fits in the category but still stands out.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yeah. A lot of times, you know, because I not a designing person.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It is so difficult to understand what that means when you're actually putting together the look and the feel and whatnot. And when somebody who understands those things gets it and lays it out in front of you. It's like, oh,

 

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Michael Palumbos: Wow, that's, that's awesome. So I really appreciate you know the the thought that you're bringing to all of this. And then, you know, when you're doing it with the family business. How do I take

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, what are those, as you said, the DNA. The do not altars and how do I, how do I bring them. And I love that I wrote that down. Just so you know, when I look away. It's not because I'm, you know, not interested. I'm these that's a writer downer. I would call it, you know, that's great.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah well and i think i think that the one other thing that I would emphasize is that

 

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Meghan Lynch: That there's sort of like the design expertise and the branding expertise that's absolutely critical to, kind of, you know, just respect that it's something that like again this business doesn't do every day. It's not their skill set and you know it's a specialized expertise.

 

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Meghan Lynch: But then there's also the empathy piece that like these things are real and they are emotional and they can't be taken lightly. And I think that that's where we saw family businesses and the second stage companies.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Being not necessarily intentionally served where it was like, you know,

 

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Meghan Lynch: This, you know, brilliant design agency with, you know, that can do gorgeous art comes in and gives a company, something that solves a design problem, a technical problem but doesn't resolve that emotional tension.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And then as soon as that design agency turns their back their work might have been great, but it's not going to stick because people are not happy with what they've created and they haven't done that process to create that buy in and kind of

 

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Meghan Lynch: unpack all of that. So as soon as they turn their back all the work with this company, you know, maybe they, you know, spent a half million dollars on this rebrand and as soon as it's done their undoing the work

 

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Meghan Lynch: That they just invested so much time and money into and it's always like crazy. Like, oh my gosh, if you're going to do this once like

 

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Meghan Lynch: Do it in a way that's going to stick. And I think the only way for a family business to make that stick is to acknowledge the real true, you know, emotion and tensions that are existing

 

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Meghan Lynch: That that are important. It's not you know it's it's not silly. It's real. So

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, it's very real Ruth, you know what, I'd love for you to pick up is when we're talking about culture within the business. It's both important to understand culture, both internally.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And how your culture is affected externally. Right. And so, you know, so when you're talking branding and what what's jumping in my head right now.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Is companies that have changed their logo and change the brand look and feel. And it wasn't from the internal side that there was, you know, a mess. It was on the external side and and customers saying you can't do that to our logo.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because there must have been a connection with them with the culture and whatnot correctly and you want to talk about that a little bit.

 

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Ruth Lund: Yeah, so you as far as the brand image, you know, really signifying to them something because it is something emotional it's behavioral right it's what they have.

 

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Ruth Lund: Experienced from that company as a client as a customer of them. And so you're shaking

 

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Ruth Lund: Something that's more than just a visual, you know, it's the same idea is what Megan was talking about that emotional

 

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Ruth Lund: Pull to an image with you know that a family would have. But if we've created a really great dynamic and it really is all about.

 

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Ruth Lund: It is about values and behaviors, but to them it's signified by this iconic looking brand.

 

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Ruth Lund: And so kind of under the surface. What they're, they're probably asking is what else has changed. You know, we loved you. For this, and who you were, and how we experienced you and

 

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Ruth Lund: You're changing that look is something else and they might not even realize that so you know it's probably a subconscious emotional reaction is what else has changed because we love you the way you were

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you're dealing with, you know, families, and again, your culture and your values and that's where your focus is, do you want to

 

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Michael Palumbos: Walk us through a little bit more of like, you know, why is that so meaningful for a family business, whatever that you know some of the other aspects.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That people would want to be, you know, evolving in their brand in their culture. Why is that so important.

 

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Ruth Lund: Well you know we we started this journey, as I mentioned, as we kicked off this

 

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Ruth Lund: This conversation with the idea that if we're going to really run a values driven organization. We need to make sure we're walking the talk.

 

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Ruth Lund: And I would further that by saying, if we're going to put that out there into the world, not just internally but externally, that this is our DNA, this is who we are.

 

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Ruth Lund: You know, you really better be walking the talk and monitoring it. And so being able to be intentional Michael

 

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Ruth Lund: About and this is what some of these great brands that we have talked about earlier are doing really well is they are super intentional.

 

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Ruth Lund: About making sure they're not drifting toward a culture and toward these values they are going after it hard. They're creating deep advocacy within the organization.

 

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Ruth Lund: There they are asking their clients and customers do you experience this from us. So they're they're checking their assumptions and then they're closing the gaps.

 

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Ruth Lund: So they're, they're really doing the hard work. We really don't drift toward a healthy culture we drift in the absolute opposite direction. And so, gotta go after it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Do you, do you have an example of a company where you can pull that together for us.

 

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Ruth Lund: That has done it well.

 

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Ruth Lund: Yeah yeah yeah so so you know what one of our current clients that we're working with NASA great example of this of it is actually working because it was very, very complex a roll up company.

 

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Ruth Lund: Had it got a new owner new investment group in it, new CEO at the top, a very because of it was a roll up a lot of different

 

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Ruth Lund: leadership styles and values at play in the organization and over time with, you know, first of all, gaining clarity on, you know, here's who we are today.

 

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Ruth Lund: And then here's, here's the pieces we want to preserve here are the things that we need to do better.

 

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Ruth Lund: And so getting very clear about and resettle done, why are we here on this planet wire. What are the values that are going to take us together into the future that we feel are authentic to us. What are the behaviors.

 

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Ruth Lund: They have, they have been working for five years and now they have a measurable reflection in their organization.

 

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Ruth Lund: That they're actually, they've moved into that direction and their clients are seeing it too and reporting back on that so

 

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Ruth Lund: We see it actually works and happens but it's like I said before, it takes a lot of discipline and intentionality and commitment at the top of the organization to do it because sometimes

 

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Ruth Lund: There's some hard decisions, you know, again, when you think about this with a family owned business when you start getting data about your culture.

 

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Ruth Lund: About what's being experienced and what's being asked for, you know, you have some hard decisions to make, but it really ushers in those critical dialogues that are there.

 

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Ruth Lund: But, but if we have data that can help rise them up or raise them up in a safe way. We can start dealing with them and actually moving the needle.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Great. And I think it's so important you know that the the leadership team is checking in with not just the employee. You're not just with their customers, but the employees as well, to make sure that you're, you know,

 

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Michael Palumbos: Are we referral. Are we doing the things that we say that we're going to be doing. And I love the fact that your data focused on those pieces to make sure that that's happening, um, something popped into my head as you were talking that I went on the

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thing for just a second here. It was the opportunity piece. It was the

 

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Michael Palumbos: Megan, let's let's start being the kind of shift over there. What I'm, what I'm thinking about is

 

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Michael Palumbos: That's what it was when we're talking about companies that have a brand. A values based brand you follow me and the culture is really focused in on the values if it's done properly, then a lot of the opportunities should be

 

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Michael Palumbos: shifted away here, you know, be able to sift through them because they may not fit you know the the values and the brand and it would help to talk about those things. So Megan, would you, is that a good place to jump in about that.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Sure, even in terms of getting some focus on what kind of work. The company is doing or what customers might be right. Yeah, I mean I think that it's one of the things that will take

 

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Meghan Lynch: A a bloated marketing budget and make it highly effective is when you could get that focus and you get clarity in what opportunities are

 

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Meghan Lynch: Right for your company and the end, the people who are the right opportunity the relationships that are the right opportunity will start to kind of self select and be attracted to you.

 

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Meghan Lynch: The people who you want to hire who would be the people who would who you would like kill to have worked for you will all the sudden

 

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Meghan Lynch: Now be knocking on your door and saying, like, I see what you guys are doing here, and it looks really cool. And I'd like to be a part of it.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And you know, you get opportunities to hire people who you you know could never recruit before or take from your competitors.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And you and you start to really kind of like sift away all of that money that you are spending to just cast that really wide net and have to sort through it.

 

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Meghan Lynch: In the sales process or by testing out relationships and having failures, all of that waste goes away.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And you find that like every dollar you spend on branding and marketing and sales starts to have such a higher return on investment which. And I think that that's where

 

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Meghan Lynch: Culture and brand start to really have bottom line impact, like we see companies that have strong brands will have

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know, double the revenue of, you know, competitors who aren't running these campaigns, they'll have, you know, double the profit.

 

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Meghan Lynch: They'll have customers who are less price sensitive they can do you know price increases or they're, you know, they're not losing business to competitors because of pricing issues.

 

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Meghan Lynch: People will pay more, you know, for the brand and the experience and the relationship because of this emotional benefit that they get from it, this feeling of like

 

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Meghan Lynch: I get this company and they're like me and I want to be associated with them. And I think that's true for B2B companies as much as it is from B2C companies, we've we've seen it in both directions.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love it. You know in in this world that we live in today, people are talking, E, F, G, all the time. He has G investing, you know, environmental, social and governance.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you know at what you're talking about, you know, both of you when you're talking culture and values do not shy away from them today. Right. You really want to be digging in and and sharing that with with people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Really look like if you go ahead and

 

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Michael Palumbos: Get this one.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love it.

 

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Ruth Lund: Well, because you know this is something that Megan and I really feel strongly about to. And this is why there's been kind of this this collaborative marriage.

 

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Ruth Lund: Moving forward is yeah there's great opportunity. There's a lot of hunger out there to be working with values driven companies that really have multi stakeholders at heart, not just the bottom line.

 

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Ruth Lund: But if you start doing greenwash you know if you're starting to put something out there that really isn't who you are.

 

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Ruth Lund: The amount of damage that you can do over the long haul, because it bubbles up, it's going to become very clear that there's

 

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Ruth Lund: You know, this doesn't match anymore. And certainly your employees inside know it and, what is worse than

 

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Ruth Lund: feeling like you're working for a hypocritical organization and the misalignment that that generates and then how that cascades into employee engagement and lack thereof, etc.

 

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Ruth Lund: You're not going to get the best and brightest, but once your clients and customers, you know, kind of

 

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Ruth Lund: Poke around with you enough to realize that all of that that language in that beautiful marketing package is really not who they are authentically

 

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Ruth Lund: It's a big blow up. So we feel that the authenticity piece. And that's what you know attracted Megan to having a conversation with me. And we saw you know man, make it real. And then it's a win win win for everybody.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love it. It's you had talked about making sure that you know both of you said you're walking, you know,

 

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Michael Palumbos: walking the talk. Right. And, you know, one of the things that when we're working with, with family businesses, we call it actions to live by.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so it's like, you know, you're always talking about your values, you're always talking about your core purpose beyond profit.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But are you what are the actions to live by. And how are you, recognizing people and how are you helping that become part of the DNA throughout the organization. So that's a

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah, and I think it's also where you know again as as a brand strategy company, you know, one of the things that we look for is, you know,

 

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Meghan Lynch: What is true about this company. And how do we connect that to what a customer values and all of that work is for not

 

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Meghan Lynch: If they have the kinds of experience that Ruth is talking about. And just to go back to like the fear piece, I think.

 

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Meghan Lynch: A lot of what companies are afraid of. And what leaders are afraid of is like, oh, our competition is going to eat our lunch.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Or there's going to be some fault with the product or the service and we're going to lose customers because of that. But if you look at the data.

 

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Meghan Lynch: In terms of like why people what what what drives customer loss in a business.

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know those are like single digit numbers like six or 7% but the interactions with the people in your organization is like 60% of the law. So if you don't have

 

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Meghan Lynch: If people come in for one brand experience. And then they have a relationship or an experience with a person who does not back up that promise that you've put out there.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Chances are they're going to walk away like that is how you lose people and and lose customers that you've again.

 

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Meghan Lynch: paid so much money work so hard put so much time in to bring those people in, like, you've got to keep them and the way you're going to do that is have

 

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Meghan Lynch: The external message aligned to the internal message and make sure that that is carried through and completely consistent in every interaction and so

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, we call that the customer journey and we really pushing people on a regular basis to map out the entire customer journey so you can

 

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Michael Palumbos: Look to see, you know, where you're where you're going. Here's I learned this. I don't know if you familiar with Joey Coleman at all, but he wrote a book called never lose a customer again and you know in working with Joey what one of the things that we did was

 

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Michael Palumbos: We put up, you know, the big post it you know board sticky papers. What do you know the easel paper and we did them for each section of the customer journey.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then then post it notes to say, what do we do in each of these different sections. And what was really interesting was when you did this.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I would I would imagine that if you do this in any business if you've never mapped out the customer journey.

 

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Michael Palumbos: All of a sudden you see these great big groupings in three or four different areas of the customer journey where you do a great job and everything's good. But then there's all these other areas in the customer journey where. Ooh.

 

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Michael Palumbos: We've got some holes and maybe we should get some of these post it notes, you know, and items over to other areas. And that goes right back to what you're both saying right you know that brand integrity really means something and making sure that it's all the way through.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah, yeah, we often use a tool called the blame the brand touch point matrix where you're talking about, kind of, where are your most personal and your longest lasting touch points with customers and prospects.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And to really when you're trying to figure out how to pray your ties work, you know, especially around brand and marketing to really prioritize the investments that are highly personal. And that are long lasting, at least in today's world, which could be in five minutes.

 

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Meghan Lynch: But, um, and that that goes like anything that falls in that quadrant, you really have to pay attention to.

 

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Meghan Lynch: But so often our attention is put on the things that are not in that quadrant. The brochures, the, you know, sell sheets, though you know capability statements, you know, even your website. It's like those

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know, instead, it's like, you know, how is that product or service delivered. What are those frequent touches that people have, what is customer service like which

 

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Meghan Lynch: Takes branding away and I know we started the conversation with logos, but but the logo is really the

 

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Meghan Lynch: The symbol of this experience this emotional experience that emotional relationship that people have. It's kind of like

 

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Meghan Lynch: What people put their good feelings about a brand or bad feelings about a brand. What they attach it to. It's like a just a symbol and

 

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Meghan Lynch: But it's, you have to create that experience and really curate that experience very, very carefully and I think especially now you know Ruth and I were talking the other day with somebody about just like, you know, the fact that we are in such

 

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Meghan Lynch: A transparent and interconnected world right now. It really, you know, used to be buyer beware.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And now it's seller beware. You know, it's totally flipped. You know that that the customer really has the power and they're going to get that message out you know it's you know your brand is what other people say about you. It's not what you say about you. So

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yeah, I have a neighbor who just started a competitive business to like one 800 got junk that's, you know, that type of thing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And he shared with me that he's had people call up and asking for a discount. Otherwise, they're going to post a bad review in this social media or that I'm like oh

 

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Michael Palumbos: My god, you're held hostage some time. So, you know, one of the things that I'm working with him on

 

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Michael Palumbos: Is to come, you know, combat that ahead of time. He's had it happen two or three times already. So it's like, Okay, so how do we get in front of that so that it doesn't happen you know in alignment with values and put those pieces together.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah, yeah. And what's crazy is sometimes it's like it's like the little things. And the weird, um, you know, kind of segments of your business and I love you know like we do the customer journey mapping all the time. And I think it's so meaningful like

 

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Meghan Lynch: There's a company that was doing each back installation and they found that

 

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Meghan Lynch: What made the biggest difference in their reviews like just totally like made people give them five star reviews all over the place.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Was having all of their service techs put on those disposable booties when they walked into somebody's house that you know again.

 

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Meghan Lynch: It's such as active trust to let somebody into your house and just this feeling of like, oh, they're taking that extra bit of care to make sure that they're not getting mud on my floor that, you know, and they cost what you know maybe a penny apiece probably

 

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Meghan Lynch: Lies and all the sudden all these people started leaving five stars reviews and give it you know like giving them all this great feedback. That was the only thing that they change, but it was just a signal of we respect you. We respect your house. We take this extra level of care.

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know, and yeah, and it costs them nothing, and they're getting all this, you know, free publicity and referrals from it and and so I think

 

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Meghan Lynch: being creative, you know, branding is not all about, you know, spending all outdoors on this really big visible campaign. It's really that attention to the detail and figuring out, you know, if I move this style over here with this really important touch point

 

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Meghan Lynch: You know what else could it stimulate what is going to be the the triggers and the symbols. It's really going to connect with my customers and provide value for them so

 

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Michael Palumbos: It sounds to me like what you're doing is that, you know, working really hard to get that internal and external alignment going

 

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Michael Palumbos: And, you know, one of our learning points today, Ruth, would you, you know, picked up what is when when we talk about internal alignment. Why is that such a transforming power for a company

 

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Ruth Lund: Well, think about it. I mean, that's a great question. But think about different experiences that you've had in your lifetime in workplaces Michael and times when you came into work and you just felt

 

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Ruth Lund: Like this was the place that had the same heartbeat that you did.

 

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Ruth Lund: You know that the vision that they had the the product or service that they were bringing to the world really aligned with who you were, and your own value system.

 

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Ruth Lund: And then conversely, you probably have also had experiences where man. You just had to kind of like shape shift to go into this place and make it through an eight hour day, right.

 

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Ruth Lund: And and alright so what were you bringing you're either on all cylinders, right, because you just had all of this man I love what we're doing. I'm in alignment, I trust them.

 

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Ruth Lund: They're bringing out the best in me or I'm surviving. And so when you can unleash health and alignment and clarity in an organization you're creating this really thriving workplace where

 

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Ruth Lund: Not only are they serving you better but their life is better. You know, we talk we talk about that all the time. And I think family owned businesses. This is

 

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Ruth Lund: An important element to them to is creating a workplace where people are really growing and thriving and being able to bring their best and

 

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Ruth Lund: And when the day is over. They're not going home and kicking the cat and you know being, you know, there's a cascading element of the health of their organization that goes past just

 

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Ruth Lund: Their business performance. It's better for society. So yeah, it's a big deal. I mean, it's a really big deal on both an organizational scale and then a societal scale.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah, and I think when when we work with companies who have that who have that really strong internal alignment and everybody's pulling in the same direction, and they get this like North Star vision of where they're headed and even if they're not there yet.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Everybody is just doing everything that they can to pull in that direction.

 

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Meghan Lynch: That is when like our job becomes so easy like basically all we're doing is kind of like reading the label on their own bottle that they can't quite see themselves like they're so in it.

 

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Meghan Lynch: That they can't articulate it externally very effectively. But we're not changing anything. And I think that that was one of the reasons, in particular, why

 

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Meghan Lynch: So excited to partner with Ruth and find her and find a company who's doing the kind of work that she's doing because because they're actually taking kind of like

 

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Meghan Lynch: The Chaos systems and kind of bringing that alignment that again like without that we can't do our work. So I see like what she does as being like the bedrock to anything that you know a brand strategy agency like six point or anybody else is going to really make hay with

 

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Meghan Lynch: So I think like you cannot underplay the value of what they bring and I think the fact that they can

 

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Meghan Lynch: Can actually put data behind it and numbers behind it. You know, I've always been so frustrated with with even in my own company conversations around culture because it's like, oh,

 

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Meghan Lynch: How you know as soon as you think you've got it. It's like people start drifting away and you think you've got this great morale and then, you know, people start bad mouthing each other, whatever, like how do you just

 

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Meghan Lynch: Keep it and work it and kind of bring it to another level and the fact that they can actually put numbers on it was like mind blowing to me. It's like, yes, like that's that's what I want is take this thing that's so

 

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Meghan Lynch: nebulous and feel so hard to change and effect and give me some practical ways to think about it and some practical guidance, what to do, like, I've got the will. I just need the plan.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Going back to just something else popped into my head about logos, for n and the power that they have when you're talking about a brand, and I'm just thinking apple right now.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That logo is iconic because it is so simple, so clean and does everything that they wanted to do.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that was, you know, that was you know Steve Jobs, you know, legacy was clean, simple, powerful, and you know, unique ideas brought to the forefront.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And the other one that just jumped into my head was thinking about Nike and that Swish and the tagline of just do it and and they those

 

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Michael Palumbos: Those become symbols, they become like you know visual hammers for the for the employees that are working there the vendors that serve them and for the customer.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And it just really is really unique when you bring brand and culture together. And I've really never, you know, these things are bubbling up for me right now as you're talking about. And because of this conversation appreciate that and

 

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Meghan Lynch: I mean, I think, like when you can have a symbol for our company be something that people are proud to like wear on their shirt or put a sticker on their computer, or whatever it is, you know,

 

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Meghan Lynch: That shows that like you are doing something right. But, you know, they're also, you know, lots of companies who just never, never get to that point.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And it's not because they don't have something good going on, but because you know brands are built with with two things, and it's like this simple in this hard clarity and consistency.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And if you have clarity and you have consistency, then you will have a strong brand and it doesn't matter.

 

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Meghan Lynch: I would argue, even though I'm a fan of beautiful design, like the apple logo and I love, you know, kind of like the Mac experience.

 

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Meghan Lynch: I would also argue that, like if you have a really clear and consistent logo that is not wouldn't technically be kind of like an eye contact. Perfect logo, like we have seen a lot of examples of that over time.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Where it's kind of like a funky logo, but it's so consistent and it's so tied in with product quality that

 

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Meghan Lynch: That people are passionate about it and they like, even though it's it's sort of like weird or old fashioned or something like that. It doesn't matter. They it's still speaks to who the brand is and they've been so consistent with it over the years that they build equity in that symbol.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And it would be a mistake to change it. Even if by like let's say you know it doesn't look like some of the fancy clean logos coming out of sort of boutique design agencies.

 

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Meghan Lynch: So I also think it's were like, yeah, that there are some that we can kind of point to. But there's nothing magical about the swoosh

 

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Meghan Lynch: They've just been so consistent with it. And that just do it is so clear about what they believe in. And what their customers are all about that it endows the swoosh with this magical. Yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I think of the, the green baseball hats with the john deere symbol on them. I'm not wearing that. But those people are if you're a john deere person that green and yellow icon, a cat and logo, you're wearing that every place.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Yeah yeah

 

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Michael Palumbos: Ruth, um, clarity and consistency is what, you know, Megan was just talking about.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Talk to us about clarity and consistency with throughout the organization when it comes to you know the the areas that you work on

 

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Ruth Lund: Yeah, I love, I loved how Megan surface those two things because, as you can imagine they they absolutely transcend over

 

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Ruth Lund: You know into what your culture is so if if you're really rock solid clear about who you are. This is why we're here on the planet. What our purposes as an organization and

 

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Ruth Lund: In you've done that heavy lifting work into clarity around

 

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Ruth Lund: These are the values that are authentic to us that we can you know we're going to be a little bit aspirational maybe here and there, but we're really going to say this is descriptive and we're very clear about that.

 

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Ruth Lund: And we get very granular with the behaviors and you know you used a different language around that Michael but same idea. So what do I see you doing and and that just takes

 

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Ruth Lund: You know a word like integrity, which, you know, a lot of organizations are really hopeful that that's a

 

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Ruth Lund: Central clear part of their of their culture. But what does that look like in our organization, what would I see you actually doing. And then you can develop people to that right and and see where those gaps might be in a very practical way.

 

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Ruth Lund: And then the consistency part, you know. This to me is what leadership owns you can't delegate this to the rank and file.

 

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Ruth Lund: You want to inoculate them with it so that even when you're not there, your values and behaviors are living and breathing. But make no mistake, the consistency of leadership to walk the talk.

 

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Ruth Lund: And to be always looking for, you know, are there gaps you know that humility that they need to really bring to the table and

 

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Ruth Lund: Be able to check and see how consistent, am I, and are there times when it melts away and it shouldn't be under certain pressures, you know, that's, you know, those two pieces. Clarity. Clarity and consistency are absolutely essential to healthy culture as they are to a strong brand.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Love it. One of the things that you know was shared with me. Just recently that we're going to start instituting in our business and within the firm.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Is monthly reviews, which, you know, we were typically quarterly, but we're in a we're going to be moving to monthly and

 

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Michael Palumbos: And the review process is real simple. But, you know, the first question is, do you know our core purpose and you know our core values.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And and if you just you want that clarity. If you want those things to really mean something you really need to start asking people to they know what they are and and and going through that.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And the other questions that I think help in the in this review process that will just share where, you know, where do you

 

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Michael Palumbos: Where do you want you to go what do you, what is your career path. What is your, what are your goals and if we're not asking the people that work for us, that question. How do we help them.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And at the end of the day, you know, that really becomes, you know, the more we know about the people that that work for us. And, you know,

 

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Michael Palumbos: Make us look good out in the world. The more that you know that we can help them. Um, the other the other two is, do you know what you're responsible for here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That's such a great question. And now you know feeds into all the other things that we've been, you know, talking about. And then the last one is, where do you need help.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And, you know, for coaching on those four questions. But you have the key again why I brought it up, was the, you know, how do we keep that

 

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Michael Palumbos: Alignment. How do we keep. How do we get those those things, you know, feeding through the organization. And it's not just the actions to live by. But it's always talking the talk. Yeah.

 

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Ruth Lund: You know, there's a saying nobody ever left a company because they were over communicated with and

 

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Ruth Lund: You know, and we are so we sometimes think, well, we're kind of being redundant, we're saying, but the reality is, is that we cannot over communicate and to your point about how do you make it living and breathing and giving life in an organization.

 

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Ruth Lund: Even a simple practice. One thing we do with companies is we after we've helped them clarify their values and behaviors we we create for them as part of their internal marketing to just keep it visually alive.

 

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Ruth Lund: We create these this deck of cards and the cards each have a value on them and they use them to start off a meeting, you know, one of our core values and my company is servant leadership and one of the behaviors is

 

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Ruth Lund: I listened first. And so as you can imagine. We start off a meeting you put a card down and

 

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Ruth Lund: I listened. First, how well are we doing that. How well are we seeing that. How well are you feeling that you do with that. And so we we make it a living, breathing in the moment dialogue that we're constantly you're touching against

 

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Ruth Lund: Reality based on what you're desiring to be and it does simple things like that are powerful.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yeah, you know, it's really interesting that you said, simple, and I want to make sure that people heard that it's, you know, I

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you're when you're teaching a young child to do anything. It has to be two or three rules, Max.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And you repeat, repeat, repeat, right. Well, guess what, that's just human nature. We learn really well with repetition and simple. So it's, you know, if you're the CEO.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Talking to your leadership team three or four rules. You know, if you get to, if you have 75 values. How many values. Do you really have with no right and so just keep it simple and repeat, repeat, repeat,

 

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Meghan Lynch: And it is true externally, as it is internally. Like, I think. So often people are like swapping up brand campaigns or adding bullet points are trying to make the message they're trying to say everything in every communication.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And instead, it's like you know I'm constantly telling clients, you know, it's like you have to be sick of every ad of every tagline of like if it feels new and fresh to you then run it for three more years like just keep it going.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Because it's, yeah. All of that stuff, it's so critical, just to keep, like, by the time you're getting sick of it, whether you're a leader internally or you're trying to communicate externally is just about when people are starting to be like, Oh, is that

 

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Meghan Lynch: They're hearing it for the first time. So I think we like our attention spans can sometimes be the, you know, part of the problem of like we feel the need to mix things up before anybody else does.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Yeah, we're getting hit with so many messages. Today it's the most in history in terms of how many different messages and ads and things that you're seeing on a regular basis, things that are vying for your attention.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And we haven't changed. We still only have 24 hours in a day. And how many sleep, you know, awake hours and some people are awake, more than others. And some people are on their

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know their electronics more than others, but at the end of the day, we haven't changed, but wow the amount of messaging is has changed. So we need to be cognizant of that overload. I would say um

 

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Michael Palumbos: We're getting close to wrapping up and I just want to do one thing real quick is if you know I always allow people to ask questions if anybody has a question for Ruth or Megan, feel free.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And that's it. I don't see any hands up. So we're Ulla will pass that along. How would you wrap, wrap today up what is what final message would you want to leave people with and

 

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Michael Palumbos: How do they get ahold of you.

 

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Meghan Lynch: Um, I mean, I think, for, for the work that we're doing together. And a lot of what we talked about, I think people will probably have heard just very common themes between

 

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Meghan Lynch: What it means to have a successful brand and what it means to have a successful culture. And I think that there are two things that companies often feel like

 

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Meghan Lynch: Are too big and they can't figure out how to change them. And it's kind of like it is what it is. And we just kind of have to live with it, but

 

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Meghan Lynch: But I think both Ruth and I subscribe to like this combination of like

 

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Meghan Lynch: You can't change who you are. But you can evolve it and you can kind of be the best you that like you have something of value or you wouldn't have made it this long and and that there's

 

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Meghan Lynch: tools that you can use and best practices that you can use to really make that shine and have that work for you instead of against you. So like if you're feeling. Like Sisyphus just rolling that ball up the hill too hard.

 

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Meghan Lynch: It doesn't. It doesn't have to be that way.

 

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Meghan Lynch: And I think both brand and culture can be can help you get that critical mass to just start that ball rolling on its own and and really start to build

 

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Meghan Lynch: Momentum and potential in a company that that is scalable well beyond an owner founder or a leadership team or any one person. It really starts to become something that takes on a life of its own, which is just amazingly powerful

 

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Michael Palumbos: Thank you, and how, how can people reach you. If they want to reach Megan.

 

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Meghan Lynch: So I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. If people want to connect with me there. And then six point creative calm and my email is m Lynch at six point creative com thank you very much. Ruth.

 

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Michael Palumbos: final parting words. What do you, what do you have for us.

 

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Ruth Lund: You know, as you asked that question. I was thinking, You know what, what do I really want people to take away from this and and i think what it is is

 

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Ruth Lund: You will never regret working on your culture in an intentional way, however, you come about that you will never regret that it's visionary work its work that

 

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Ruth Lund: Isn't over in a New York minute it's never ending work. It's a journey that the best leaders.

 

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Ruth Lund: Just keep on doing, you will regret not being intentional, you know the the likelihood that something can occur that can really either slow you down, take you out.

 

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Ruth Lund: Is is pretty big, especially as we talked about, you know, what's happening with transparency in the world today, so it's

 

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Ruth Lund: It's the right work. It's good work for internal and you know for how you're impacting the world with your product or service and to reach us

 

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Ruth Lund: We are at WWW dot legacy dash center com and my contact information is in there, but it's also our Lund at Legacy dash center com and I too am active on LinkedIn and happy to connect there as well. Awesome.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I want to say thank you for joining us today. You got this was really fun for me. I hope it was fun for everybody else that was out in the you know that's listening to this. My name is again, Michael Columbus with family wealth. Legacy

 

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Michael Palumbos: Tune in in the next couple of weeks for some other great episodes that we have coming up, we've got some surprises for everybody looking forward to sharing more with you in the future. Have a great day, everybody. Thanks for joining us. Thanks.

If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to producer@thefamilybizshow.com or fill out a contact form here!

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Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

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