Cyberdogz Podcast Guest Appearance

Cyberdogz Podcast Guest Appearance

Dear brand, marketing, and growth-minded friends and colleagues, Bobby had the pleasure to sit down with the brilliant Mike Brevik on his Cyberdogz podcast, and they got deep on all things that matter most to brands, agencies, clients, leadership, his forthcoming book, and…trees.

Give it a listen, and let us know what you think.
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Mike Brevik: Hello, and welcome to another episode of brand retro. Today in the podcast, we have founder and principal of Propr design Bobby Gillespie; Bobby is a brand growth consultant and author of a forthcoming book, build your own brand like he gives a shit. And the founder and principal of Propr design, a Baltimore-based b2b brand growth agency, Bobby and the Propr team advise on and implement strategies that help b2b brands scale through better positioning, messaging, design, web, and marketing. They measure ultimate success by enabling and empowering their clients to succeed without them. Bobby, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so we were talking a little bit prior to hitting record here about kind of geeking out over the brand kind of process and in some client scenarios, and that kind of stuff. Before we go too deep in that, tell us a little bit about kind of your journey, your experience, and kind of how you got to the point of starting Propr design.

Bobby G: Well, after about 14-15 years of working in-house, working at agencies, I found myself as the creative director of an agency, helped grow it, and I kind of ran that, that ran its course. And I kind of realized at the time that I’m a terrible employee; too many ideas, too disruptive, and get too excited about what we’re doing. But also, I’m incredibly focused on doing what’s best for the team. And the client. And that was one of the catalysts for me starting Propr was, you know, seeing how you know, the underbelly of the agency world, how it focused too much on trade transactions, focus too much on getting as much of the client and the team as possible. And then consolidating the rewards for that to a few select folks. So I got bit by the entrepreneurial ball got us also, you know, kind of felt that, if I’m going to bust my butt, is going to be for me and my family and my team, right? Like, we’re all in this together. So I’ve really kind of hedged my bets and said, you know, there’s a better way we can work in our client’s best interest, we can work and put our team’s, lives in balance, substitute or replace frustration with fulfillment and really, you know, do great things, have a successful business, help our clients be more successful, and have a positive impact all around. Now we’re in our eighth year doing it. And you know, that’s non-negotiable. All those things are nonnegotiable for us, and we’re having a blast.

Mike Brevik: Yeah. So what’s interesting about this is you’re it’s like you’re reciting to me my own journey; we’re in our seventh year. And our story is very similar. And it’s not to mean I don’t care what other companies do; they can do their own thing. They can do it how they want to do it. But the gap or the opportunity that I saw, at least for myself, in the industry, is that everybody was already bought into this traditional way of doing things. And nobody really questions it. They just, if this is how a traditional agency does it, and they have this many people on the project, and they have this many figureheads involved, and there are this many proofs, and it’s this much, nobody ever questions that they just ride along. And what’s funny to me is then those relationships turn and burn; they flip in a matter of two to three years.

And everybody’s mad about it. Like I didn’t have a good experience over here. So now I’m gonna move on to the next agency. And it’s like, right, but you’re not really addressing the reason why it didn’t work; you’re not asking the question as to what role you played in it. And having some frontline experience in that. I really looked at it and thought, Well, I think I’m not gonna say a better way. But I think there’s a different way to do this that addresses the needs of the clients that don’t necessarily want to just keep writing checks forever. And again, like, I’m all about growing business; we got to make money, but at the same time, I think we have to re-reassess and shift our focus to be about the collective to be about the team to be about the client deliverables and to like hit home runs, not just go project until somebody gets sick of working with us. And that seems to be, in many ways, that traditional cycle that people are accustomed to.

Bobby G: And it’s too much gospel in the industry. And I couldn’t agree more. You know, I was talking to a colleague who is the president of a PR firm. And I was saying how, you know, this year we’re focused on scaling we, you know, have our shit together, you know, which is something I say every year, but we have it together enough to scale Propr this year. And that’s what we’re looking to do. And she said, Oh, it must be really hard to scale your agency, you know, doing project work. I said we don’t do project work. We’re an extension of our clients. So our clients work with us. And we structure our engagements is basically monthly billing. And we have multiple goals; we have new priorities, we pivot all the time, but you know, the biggest goal is to help them establish a foundation uncomplicate their organization to get more out of their brand, get more out of their marketing to get more out of their business dev. And she was just like, wow, like, no one does it that way. And, like, I’m sure other people do it that way.

You know, and our clients work with us for, you know, 12 to 24 months. And one of the goals we have, of, you know, all these metrics that people measure, you know, of course, we’re in business to make money, right, but we measure success when our clients are empowered to no longer need us. Right, so we want to supply our clients with clarity on who they are, clarity on who their customers are, and where to meet them. What message to bring to them? Right, connect with them based on purpose. values, principles, and right. No gimmicks, no-nonsense, no trickery, you know, no clever, you know, taglines and slogans, direct language, in the right tone of voice. And that’s how we get these great, you know, results for our clients. And you know, if anybody hears me talking to you, I always say keep it real, right? Keep it real, be yourself. Don’t be afraid of that. You know, and I know firsthand, I, you know, I was brutalized in, you know, the school system in Philly.

Because I had my own ideas. I didn’t sit there and shut up and do as I was told, and that’s, you know, I’ve been that way my whole career. And, again, that’s why I’m a terrible employee. But it’s what difference we can make for our clients. Because we’re not just following, you know, the Gospels of inbound or outbound or ABM, like whatever philosophy people say, is the one true philosophy on brand building and marketing and growth. It’s like, no, it’s a course the formulas are similar. But let’s start by identifying your unique variables and then plug those into the formulas to get you those outcomes that you really desire. And that’s what makes it really fulfilling for us is really understanding our clients first, before jumping into pushing pixels, and you know, unleashing marketing, like let’s really clarify who you are. So we can say there was, you know, those right things to the right people in the right place. Yeah, and you’re connecting and competing and communicating based on values. And that’s what people relate to. We know that people don’t relate to your latest features. That’s a commodity aspect or your pricing. That’s commodity aspects, right? The cheapest gas, right? The cheapest milk. That’s people just want what’s good enough there. But when you can connect with them based on your shared principle, You can have something more authentic comes time for that final conversion. There’s no trickery involved. Right?

Mike Brevik: They’re part of the ride as well. Like if you build an authentic brand, and you use their input and their unique variables, and you use their secret sauce of what makes them unique. If you use that as part of the equation as part of the solution. They’re not only part of the success, but they’re so ingrained and committed to that direction.

Bobby G: And they’ve self-selected. They said that I want to engage with this brand, right? There are some brands like Amazon where we begrudgingly support an awful company, right? But give us, you know, there’s a bookstore that opened next door to the office. And I told him, I was like, you know, you guys should, you know, just giving them free advice, which I like to do, unsolicited, but I like don’t compete on Amazon with price, like don’t try to be Amazon compete on your values. And this community will support that. The payment, right, and they’ll self-select like this is for me. And it’s the same thing. They also say This brand is not for me because I don’t align with those values. Right. And so when we talk about competing and connecting and communicating based on your values, like, you’re not for everybody, you know, my coach, I have said to music, I was Bobby, you know, you’re one of those dudes that people like you, or they hate you, as I pause it, Dad, and I’m like, people don’t like me. And I’m like. Actually, that’s true. Because I’m not for everybody.
And the same thing that any brand out there person, you know, persona, brand, whatever. But the people that do appreciate me and like me, and then all that stuff caught will come to me. And the ones that don’t want to hear direct, you know, you know, colorful language, you know, I’ll tell my clients, their baby’s ugly, essentially, right. And not enough people will do that. But the ones that don’t want to hear that will stay far away. But the ones that are open to being told they’re wrong, or there’s a different way that they haven’t considered, will definitely appreciate us. So that’s when our clients as well.

Mike Brevik: Yeah, and I think most people, I mean, we still love that baby. But they know their baby’s ugly, and they need somebody to tell them that. And that’s one of the things, so everything you just said there is, honestly, one-to-one spot on with Cyber dogz and how we do things. It’s interesting. It’s interesting that you’re doing it so similar and or I’m doing it similar to you. However, you want to look at it.

Bobby G: It’s why we’re going to get along because we share values, right? We believe in our principled way of doing things.

Mike Brevik: But tell me if this like this for you. For me, it seems very; it doesn’t seem profound; it seems common sense. So like, when we first started doing it, and I’m like, I can’t be the only one. Like, I can’t live in a world that like I’m the only one who thinks this way. Because it’s so ridiculous. It’s so common sense. But then you start to kind of observe and kind of realize the traditional marketing machine. It’s just rolling in. It’s conditional thinking, and people are just like, Well, why would I question it? And of course, guys like me, and you are like, why wouldn’t you question it? Like, it’s not working? I mean, it works. For some people, it works. I mean, good for those people.

Bobby G: Aspects of it that are appropriate for certain situations and scenarios and clients. But again, it can’t subscribe to dogma.

Mike Brevik: But if you’re one of those people where it doesn’t work, then by all means, ask the question, like, because if it’s not working for you, ask the question. And that’s what was kind of, like, hard for me to wrap my mind around at the beginning. I’m like, I just, I can’t believe this isn’t common sense for everybody. But it’s taken me a while to kind of observe and look at this and go some people it’s not common sense too and they don’t care. And those aren’t my people.

Bobby G: Right? They don’t share your values, right? So we don’t get along. And that’s okay. Right.

Mike Brevik: Yeah

Bobby G: I’m like you like; I’m just constantly in amazement at how this approach seems so novel. And it’s such a differentiator for us, but it seems so obvious to me that this is a better way. We’re in client services, right? Like, we have a great responsibility as the leaders of our companies to really lead by example, you know, and I’ve had tons of jobs that have really informed me on how I would never want to operate once I got to leadership roles. And I’ve always found myself in a leadership role. Again, because I’m a terrible employee, and I just rise to the top, and can wreak havoc. So good thing I started my own company. But, you know, seeing how we need to provide for our families and our team as well, right? So all the stuff I want out of my job, and my career, I’m committed to providing that to my team. And I was talking to a fellow the other day, another marketing guy, and he was telling me that, you know, he was working with b2b tech guy marketing; that’s kind of where we focus. And he said that he was he had a little side hustle that he was spinning up.

And once the company found out about it, they fired it. And it wasn’t a conflict or anything like that because he was working in-house. But they fired, and I was like, that’s awful. And it’s awful because their mentality is you’re lucky you work here. Right, and that’s just so toxic. I probably don’t say it enough, but I’m lucky I have my team. Like they owe me nothing. I owe them that approach to leadership for me. You know, as Eisenhower said, you know, leaders put their people in a position to be successful to be successful. They don’t tell him what to do. So my team isn’t successful. As long as they’re trying. And that’s my fault. I look at myself first. And, you know, I think that you know, about, I don’t know, sometimes my 20s when I was struggling big time with my career. I read a book, I wish I could remember what it was, but it talks about your legacy. And what really ingrained in my mind and my just my being was that why wait until you’re an old man to care about your legacy? Start writing it now.

So I started caring about my legacy, right? What’s my legacy? And when you think about that way, that’s really what’s informed me about what brand meets brand has so many meetings, right? But for me and my company, what we really get our clients to believe in is your brand is your reputation. So if you have a janky logo, that’s part of your reputation; if you treat people poorly, that’s part of your reputation. If your CEO parks in a handicapped spot, and they’re perfectly able, that’s your reputation. If you’re firing people if clients are suing you, if you’re a taker, right? Taking more than you give, you don’t jive with the symbiotic nature of the universe, right? It’s giving and getting. If you’re taking advantage of folks, if you’re burning your team out for talking down to people, if your website has the wrong messaging, if you’re using gimmicks, like all those things are your brand. You get the brand you deserve. That’s the one you want. Right? Our boy, my boys from West Philly, where I grew up, you grew up in Overbrook. I grew up in southwest Philly. But he slapped somebody on TV and its reputation. Before that night, Could you ever imagine? No. Right? And you got to be mindful that stopped? No, because it has a huge impact.

Mike Brevik: Yeah, your brand and your reputation can be a house of cards if you don’t, if you’re not careful with it. And I mean, I talked to my clients about it all the time. And I go down to the details with it, you know, it’s everything. It’s how you look; it’s how you treat people; it’s how you present yourself; it’s how it’s all part of the package. And I’m not gonna say what aspects are right or wrong; you have to tell me what fits your brand. But at the end of the day, you have to be aware of all those pieces. And I think for a lot of companies and a lot of, you know, clients, they just don’t understand the reach of a brand. They think it’s maybe just the logo; they think it only goes as far as maybe the branded polo shirt they’re wearing that Friday, and it’s like, no, it’s everything. And it’s so much more than that. And it’s every little detail that adds them to be substantial and to be special about that brand. So like to your point with, you know, the Oscars, like, Yeah, that guy. I don’t know; I don’t know if he’ll recover from that. He kicked his brand in the nuts. In a major way.

Bobby G: No, it’s gonna forget

Mike Brevik: Absolutely. And he’s always he’s going to be suspect forever because of us.

Bobby G: Yeah, when you think about, you know, some of these mega brands that have insane PR budgets to manage the bad press or to put a spin on something. And, you know, like, why spend all his resources pushing a false narrative, putting up a facade, right, like Pepsi saying that, you know, X percentage of their plastic bottles are made to be recycled, yet, almost none are because the technology doesn’t really exist. But meanwhile, you look around at all the waterways and, you know, roadsides and streets and just littered with their products. And what do they push these PR messages instead of owning it, because what are they care about? It’s just that infinite growth at all costs. And they don’t care what damage they cause, but they’re going to spend, you know, millions and millions of dollars a year on PR to try to whitewash it. Try to distract you. Look over here. You know, I don’t know. Get the man behind the curtain. Look over here. Right, you know, but like it’s a horror show. And, you know, I think a lot of our peers and our clients, you know, the commentary on the industry, in general, is that we’re all the information and stories and books and magazines glorify. You know, these corporations that are doing more harm than good. And, you know, pushing these stories like overnight success and humble beginnings, but it’s not real. Sounds cool that we started in the garage, but you know, starting a garage with $250 million in seed money, right? Like, let’s just be real, right?

Mike Brevik: That overnight success piece. I’m all for it, if it can happen, but the part we have to remember it, it doesn’t happen to everybody. Most entrepreneurs, most business owners, and most people find a way to succeed. There, there was a grind there. There was work, there were long hours, there was timing, and there was maybe even a little bit of luck. But luck. But the story that we’re told is that you know, it’s this overnight thing. And then, as marketers, we get asked that question like, well, how can I make this go viral? Well, you don’t make stuff go viral. Like, unless your last names Kardashian or something, you’re not making anything go viral? Like it’s gonna it’s gonna how he’s

Bobby G: And what price did they pay for that fame now, right? Like, what does that have to do? Right?

Mike Brevik: Exactly.

Bobby G: But humility, I think, on a regular basis for money.

Mike Brevik: But I think they forget that. What’s the like you said, what’s the price to be paid to try to fast track it versus trying to trying to build something authentic? And personally, I’m always on the side of authenticity because I think that’s unwavering. I think if you can find an authentic way to build that foundation, you don’t have to look over your shoulder; you don’t have to remember what you said yesterday, and you don’t have to try to keep your shit straight. Because if you’re authentic, and you’re real, and you’re honest about it, it’s gonna naturally just take care of itself.

Bobby G: I’m a bit of an urban hippie; I love you know, I grew up in the city, I live in the city. But I love the trees; I love the wilderness. And I was reading a book a couple of years ago; it was just a lot about how trees grow in the wild. And for those who don’t know, when a tree, you know, a big, mature tree has a lot of babies around it. And the babies maybe 10 feet tall. But they, but also 100 years old. And they’re growing in a healthy, sustainable fashion. They’re not rushing, right? And one day that Mother Tree, it’s going to be her time to go down. And those babies will compete for that space. Right. But they’ve, they have the right foundation. They’ve grown not too fast. They’ve been patient; they’ve done everything the right way. And that’s their opportunity to be the next, you know, Titan. Then you think about how a tree grows. And a lot, you know, the house comes down in West Baltimore, and a tree, you know, seeds end up there from the birds, and the tree grows. And it’s ten years, it’s 35 feet tall, right? That tree is not going to be 500 years old. The tree is going to grow, probably grow for another 30 years, and fall over; why grew too fast? And that’s what the hacks get you. That’s what the gimmicks get you. Right? If you want to build something that’s sustainable, that’s healthy, that’s scalable. You got to do it the right way. Get started the foundation. Focus on what your purpose is and what your values are. Have them guide your decision-making process.

Have them put the parameters around what’s appropriate for your brand. Resist the urge to make a quick buck. It’s going to hurt your growth. It’s going to limit your potential. So that tree, Yeah, it might you might have a nice, you know, 2530-foot tree on the street, but it’s not destined for much longer than that. I’d rather see, you know, a tree that, you know, brand. That’s 100 years old, and we look at a good, great, awesome book. I talk about how and I don’t have that data, but you know, branch companies used to last for like 2530 years before the modern times. Now companies come and go, and years fail years. And sure, that could be a strategy and planning for some entrepreneurs. But, you know, I think most would rather see their brand exists beyond them, right, have something that contributes to their legacy that can pass off. But what they’re passing off is like, hey, you know what? Our leaders set the vision for this brand. And we’re going to continue that vision into the future. And everybody knows what the company stands for. The entire team is built around shared principles, shared values, a clear purpose, and a clear mission. And with that, you know, everyone’s just kind of on the journey moving to that, that spot on the horizon line together. And, you know, that is the healthy approach to business and healthy approach to really growing your revenue, right, because you’re going to attract the right people, both internally and as customers. And that’s what that’s really the name of the game.

Mike Brevik: I think most companies, the earliest young entrepreneurs, they get caught up in the monkey see, monkey do mindset as if they see, you know, Company X is super successful; I’m gonna mimic what they’re doing and try to follow that path so that I can catch up to them or become them or whatever it is, then to your point, I don’t know that you want to do that, I don’t know that you want to I know you want the success of that. I don’t know if you want to morph into who they are. Because once you get there, and you find out that your foundation is shaky, you probably can’t sustain it, and you’re probably not going to love what you’re doing. There’s probably a handful of other reasons why, even if you get there, it’s going to be short-lived. But we get swept up in that people get swept up in that idea that, you know, I don’t know that I want to look inward and try to reinvent the wheel as something unique or authentic to myself when that guy already carved a path. I’m just going to do what he did. And that’s that simple monkey see; monkey do mindset that I think it’s tempting. It’s tempting for people, but it’s not what you want to do. It’s not the right way, like you said, to build sustainability.

Bobby G: Yeah, there’s a guy named Davell, rather, Kent, and someone recommended a book. I think it’s a collection of all those tweets and things like that. But he was an investor still around and made a shitload of money, but he’s a principal guy. And something he said really sticks out to me; he says when you know when you are your authentic self, you really have no competition because no one can, can compete with you on being you. And when you look at, you know, we want to be the next Amazon, we want to be the next Walmart, like, how many people think and want that you can’t? Right now will make you different? And, you know, using metrics and like, we’re bigger, we have a nicer office, we have more people. We have these this client, right? You know, we have, you know, we put their a well-known logo on your website. But you did like production work for them. No, this trickery doesn’t mean you’re better. It just means you’re you just have these conditions around. And the pressure is there, right? All the pressure we’re taught in school, you know, like, these guys are great. And these billionaires are leaders for different opinions. I believe they’re ill, I believe that you know, remember that show hoarders? What a horrible show, but it really put on it was like a sideshow. You know, showing these people this horrible sickness or they’re hoarding this and that, right, living in horrible conditions. And what’s the difference between hoarding money and that? The only difference is we’ll put them on the cover of a magazine called Man of the Year. Still the same sickness, still not healthy for anybody. They’re hurting themselves or hurting others. So we haven’t mentioned in my book, have we

Mike Brevik: We have not yet that was. Actually, I have that on my list to talk to you about so

Bobby G: All this stuff is in my book I talk about.

Mike Brevik: Yeah, so the book is called Build your Brand like you give a shit, right?

Bobby G: Embrace your purpose to unleash your potential.

Mike Brevik: When does it come out? Is it out already?

Bobby G: It’s not out. It’s in design. So my friends out in Oregon are designing. We’re close to the milestone where we’re getting bids for printing, but it’ll be out this summer, and it’s a bit of a rant and commentary but also a guide on not falling for all these gimmicks and hacks to try to grow your brand, taking a more authentic real approach to doing it the right way.

Mike Brevik: Yeah, what’s interesting about that? I just want to kind of layer this in there because I don’t know that most clients realize that are falling or steering into the gimmicks and the hacks; they kind of see it as a solution. And it’s funny because a lot of the things we’ve been talking about, and a lot of the things that I’m sure you, you know, are anecdotal in your book, is that most people would agree with it, when you give it to them like we’ve been talking about it, most people are gonna go, Yeah, that makes all the sense in the world. But then when they get swept into the process, or they get, you know, sold the snake oil from company X. They’re like, Okay, well, if that’s what you recommend, I do that, I guess I do it, they kind of forget themselves in the process. And that’s what I work on, I’m sure you do the same, but I work with my clients to kind of see past some of that. And, again, it’s not that everything is one size fits all, but think about how it fits you. And if it doesn’t fit you, it’s probably not a good idea.

Bobby G: Well, you know, we all have a tendency to try to understand the problem. Right? And, you know, we have a completely different perspective on branding and marketing strategy than our clients do. And, you know, like we were talking about earlier before we jumped on, it’s like it, you know, what seems obvious to us, is brilliant to them. And, you know, we lose sight of that, and I’m very cognizant of it because I want to make sure that we’re talking in our client’s language, not in some, you know, secret code, jargon, and nomenclature, but, you know, clients are coming with a perceived solution to a problem they don’t quite understand fully. And they see symptoms, and they say, oh, you know, we need a new website. And the first thing, you know, that’s the catalyst for the conversation, which is great. And I always ask why. And then, we try to unpack that before we decide to move any further. And that’s not after the pain, yes, or anything. It’s just having conversations. So I want to know whether there’s there; I really want to know what the causes of these things are. Not the symptoms; we will make the symptoms go away, not by band-aiding them. But by removing the cause, also looking beyond the carrying pay.

Because there’s more waiting, right? So, you know, we need a new website. Why? Well, it doesn’t say the right thing. Well, okay. What’s the right thing? What’s the right message? Oh, you know what? We’re working on that internally. Okay, what who’s your website for our customers will describe them? Why do they care? And that’s okay. Or for? It’s dated, and it’s hard to manage, right? All those things, right? It’s like, okay, well, I’m sure we can address all that. But it’s like a deeper dive. So we know that before we start pushing pixels and designing and building your next website, you don’t end up in the same predicament you’re in now and spending a bunch of money to just have a refresher problem. Second, let’s take the time to really focus on and clarify who you are. What do you do, and for whom? What’s important to them? How does this align with your business goals, your business strategies, your opportunities, and what your competition doing? Let’s make sure we can position you as different and better. Then we could start pushing Texas. Right. Not coming in saying we didn’t do the website? Great. Let’s start cost this much. Let’s slow down. Because if we don’t know how to evaluate what’s appropriate, what’s good? What’s going to get you those results you want for your business? And how do we know what’s right? Well, we don’t what’s going to end up happening is we’re going to say, you know, an agency is going to do what they think is right.

Or they’re going to play K to some leadership, who wants it to make them feel good. And make them look cool, right? fluffing and ego-blowing smoke, whatever. And we have no interest in that because that’s not helping. It’s just taking another transaction, taking their money, and delivering something. I hope it works right now; I have no interest in that. I only have interest in doing it in a way that we, you know, we’ve proven with our frameworks and approach is a way to get results that are focused on two things, what’s best for the brand? And what’s best for the future customer? And those are questions that we want everybody to be asking at all times when they’re making decisions around their business, not just around their marketing, personnel, office space, whatever, right? To open a new office, is this what’s best for the brand? Is this what’s best for our customers? Your team’s part of the brand? Right? Should you give them a raise before buying in office? Like, what are you doing? Right? So that question takes a lot of guts to ask, but it takes a hell of a lot of clarity to answer. That’s our first part of our process. That’s where we start. We get them the confidence to ask and answer that question concisely. Not in 500 words, right in in a few as few words as possible. But not just that, it’s got to be practical, tangible, and tactical. The entire team needs to be saying the same thing. Your customers need to be saying the same thing. Your potential customers need to be saints; your peers, and your competition, need to be saying the same thing. Right. And that’s what we start with right before anything else, before implementation, before activation, before enablement, before growth. But with all that information, right, we know who we are; we know what we do. We know who we do it for? Think about how easy it is to make decisions. Now. This is what is a good idea. Oh no. Is it gonna make us money? Yeah, that’s not how you make decisions. Because that money could come at a very steep cost?

Mike Brevik: Well, it needs to align with the overall direction of your brand. That’s the one thing you know, the idea of the tactical items, the website, the social media, whatever, they become pretty utilitarian in the process because most people forget to connect those dots or how does this, how does a affect B and B effects C and so on. And if they’re not thinking that way, they could just be pushing the wrong buttons and pulling the wrong levers. So it’s funny because one of the things, and you know, we can kind of wrap this up, but one of the things I think that’s worth mentioning, too, is a lot of people set the budget before they realize what they’re doing with it. You know, they go into their next year saying, Hey, we’ve got a $100,000 marketing budget for next year. And it’s like, cool. But what are you doing with it? It’s like, well, I don’t know, we haven’t figured that out yet. But we’ve got a $100,000 budget, right? Well, you might have, you might have a $200,000 problem, that’s, you probably should have figured that out first, then set the budget, or maybe your budget way too big. Maybe you need maybe you only need a $50,000 budget this year. I mean, either way, you look at it like it, it cracks me up. And I find that kind of comical when somebody comes to me with their budget number without actually knowing what they’re even going to do with it.

Bobby G: Yeah, where did that come from? And you know, is it a percentage? Is it what year allowances, as you know, marketing, you know, marketing leadership, I feel bad for them these days because they’re responsible for growth now. But they’re only creating opportunities. There’s someone else, or a product or a website, or a person that’s responsible for the transaction. But all the onus falls on the marketing person, but their hands are tied with people who aren’t in marketing, giving them budgets, or correct having a strategy and plan.

Mike Brevik: Well, and the metrics that they use to measure success, if not connected to the strategy and plan, can paint a horrible picture. You know, I’ve experienced this in my own career where somebody wants to hold me accountable to a metric that I have no control over. It’s just how we’ve taught ourselves to measure it. It’s like, well, just run me, run me the profile or the analytic reporting. Let’s see how we’re doing. And it’s like, okay, but if we’ve not made one solid decision to influence that number, then the data is garbage. Why even right? I’m not saying data is garbage. But in that scenario, that data is garbage. You can’t measure you can’t measure that as success or failure.

Bobby G: Right, just partying. I mean, that is an interesting thing. Right? We want to be full because in the future, right? And that is the past. So if you’re looking behind you, your eyes aren’t set on that future state on the vision, right? A course like that is going to inform some assumptions. And, you know, due diligence you’ve done, like, is this working? Do we pivot? Do we double down? But you have to be focused on the future state, right? And marketing and brand development. It’s all a long game. It’s while we want to grow, like the tree in the forest.

Mike Brevik: Yeah, it’s about kind of looking at it holistically where foundation matters. The vision and the direction matter, and the actions you take to get to that vision matter. It’s about being a lot more methodical about it than strategic because I think strategy gets kind of misused or misunderstood by all the other things we’re talking about. Maybe it’s the analytics; maybe it’s the ego; it’s all those things that kind of make us not pay attention to the stuff that matters. And, you know, I think for a good solid foundation in a good solid direction for a brand. being methodical about it. It is one of the most important things, and it’s not it’s the turtle, not the hare, right? It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Bobby G: Amen, that yep, yep, indeed.

Mike Brevik: So Bobby, I just want to close things up. Thank you for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it. And let’s have you back when the books are ready, and we can kind of do a launch episode and kind of talk about some of those pieces; I think pretty insightful for the listeners, and I myself would be honored to kind of throw you out there and kind of hear what you got.

Bobby G: It’d be my pleasure. I love pontificating on all these things all day. We get along great.

Mike Brevik: So awesome. Thank you for being on the podcast, and we’ll have you on again soon. If you’d like to learn more about cyber dogs, share your thoughts, or even ask a specific question about this episode and or the brand retro mindset, contact me directly at Mike at

Bobby Gillespie


With 24 years of creative experience in leadership, planning, and executing performance-based branding and web design strategies, Propr and I help small and medium-sized companies and organizations grow revenue, attract new customers, manage and scale their brands, and improve marketing performance.

I’m also the author of Build Your Brand Like You Give a Shit.
Connect and follow me on LinkedIn.

Schedule a call to learn how we can help you transform your brand for consistent and better performance.

About Propr

Propr Branding and Web Design Best of Maryland Awards

Propr is a boutique brand strategy and creative agency. We help companies and organizations grow through high-performing brand strategy, graphic & identity design, messaging & custom WordPress website design & development. Performance and results drive our passion for service. Let’s do great things for your brand together.

Ready to transform your brand for consistent and better performance? Contact us today!

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