The Business Power Hour Guest Appearance

The Business Power Hour Guest Appearance

Check out Bobby’s guest appearance on The Business Power Hour, where they talked about his book Build Your Brand like you Give a Sh*t: Embrace your purpose and unleash your potential, how marketing is an infinite game, and how focusing your resources wisely can maximize your efforts. 

Give it a listen, and let us know what you think.

Listen here


Are you looking to grow your business with a stronger brand?


Deb Krier: Good morning. I am Deb, and I am passionate about giving professionals the tools that they need to make themselves and their businesses as successful as possible. I had so much fun talking with my guests today because we’re talking about the foundation of your business. If you don’t get this part right, it’s not going to matter what else you do, so with that little teaser, please join me in welcoming Bobby Gillespie to our program today. Welcome, Bobby. How are you doing?

Bobby G: I’m doing well, Deb; thank you, well said!

Deb Krier: It is, it is, you know it, is the foundation, and I’m not just saying that because that’s what we do, but yeah, I mean if you don’t get it right, we’re not going to get it, so let me tell people a little bit about you. Then we’ll dive into this, Bobby Gillespie or better known as Bobby G, is a brand growth consultant and author of the book Build Your Brand Like You Give A Sh*t Embrace Your Purpose and Unleash Your Potential; he is the founder and principal at proper 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 I love that part so again Bobby welcome.

Bobby G: Thank you

Deb Krier: Cool cool, well, I always like to find out how my guests got to where they are today because I think it’s always fascinating because nobody woke up at age three and went, oh, this is what I want to do with my life or you know most people didn’t and and and they took these great routes which really made us who we are so tell us a little bit more about how you got to where you are today.

Bobby G: Great question and I’ll do my best to keep it focused on my career, which is not necessarily a career, but it’s what I do. It’s who I am, but yeah like you said I never imagined I would be a business owner and now eight plus years later since I started Propr I can’t imagine that I would be anything else and the the reason the reason I start up my own company was after about 15 years in the industry I was working as a designer primarily designer art director and later creative director and everything from the early days of web to packaging consumer products in the B2B space as well I just got frustrated at the standard way things were done it was all about transactions so it was transactional with your team it was transactional with the client how much can we take from both right and that was really the focus of of the leadership in the organization the strategy wasn’t about delivering outcomes and results it was about how much money did we make this month this quarter this year how many hours are people billing and I just felt like there was a better way which is very frustrating for me as somebody who was a creative director of an agency where we were just it didn’t matter if we delivered on what was sold to the client all that mattered was that it was sold.

Deb Krier: And they paid!

Bobby G: And they paid right, and you know the sales there is a staff people their accountability ended with the check clearing, and it was just very frustrating because we want you to know as a designer and a creative and a strategy-minded person as well as a problem solver at heart this is how do we get better outcomes here and over the years I just kind of took that you know onion and pulled off different layers or took that hot air balloon another thousand feet up and I said what the origin of these problems is not in our processes or in our operations, we’re selling something that is exactly what the client is asking for, but it’s not what they need, and it’s not necessarily going to make their pain go away. It’s just going to mask their symptoms, so I started thinking, well, how do we get to the point where we’re not, where we’re actually working in our client’s best interest and our team’s best interests while bringing outcomes that are really making a difference for their business and so after a couple of years of being a creative director at someone else’s company I left. I kind of did some soul searching, and you know, every day it was 50 50 well, the first day was 50 50 start my own thing, or go get some a job doing, you know, who knows what where, and every day that needle moves more towards become an entrepreneur right and 45 days after I left that job I had clients lined up saying dude we’ve been waiting for you to go on your own.

Deb Krier: We knew you’d be good at this!

Bobby G: Why didn’t you say something? You’ve done it sooner, so you know, and that’s really what I’ve hedged by my bets on is that Hey listen, we can be fulfilled, we can, do very little harm to our team to the clients to our community to the world and do great business and be very successful at it and you know eight years later that’s what we continue to do, and it’s really great what I’ve learned through my experiences and really what was as part of the backbone of the book is what not to do and I always you know even though I had all these squirrel School Hard Knocks learning experiences throughout my career in life, there are always opportunities to learn, and I always felt that, hey once I, you know even though I floated off into a leadership role in just about every job I’ve ever had in my entire life, you know for why that is I don’t know, but I always thought that once I had the opportunity to be a leader you know I would know what how I want to be treated.

Deb Krier: Right, because we had the bad examples.

Bobby G: Right, so when I created the company when I started the company in 2014, I said, what I’m going to do here, you know, with the non-negotiable aspects of the business, is I’m going to provide my team with the same stuff that I want you to know, and the same balance and the same fulfillment and the same zero tolerance for BS and being honest and transparent and vulnerable and just keeping it real with people it, and we’re living proof that that is a better way and it’s a lot more fun than the ulterior the alternative.

Deb Krier: Right, and I loved your book. I was having so much fun when I was reading it, going, oh oh oh oh, right, and you know, a big part of it is, as you said, you know, we treat the people you work with the way you want to be treated I mean it’s kind of that old age of the golden rule and what it also means is that sometimes we’re going to tell clients or potential clients sorry we’re not a good fit for whatever reason you know and we also need to know when to tell employees contractors Freelancers whoever it is that we’re working with this isn’t working either, and that’s of course very hard especially if you’re turning away that money and when you’re starting out sure you might have to compromise a bit, but the second you don’t have to and if you start not compromising it is easier to just continue that right.

Bobby G: You know, when I started the business, I, this is something that we advise all of our clients to do. I just wrote a blog post about it today; the title is called mastering the marketing pivot, and it really harkens back to 2020 with COVID. It’s like we can’t predict the future, but we must commit to thinking about it right but also be agile enough to scrap all that planning and pivot, and you know what we’re trying to accomplish with that is don’t lose sight of your vision for the company right that should be guiding you even if things are delayed, or there’s turbulence, or you have to take a different road to get there. That’s all okay. It’s part of the journey, but compromising your values, compromising your purpose and ethics to get shortcuts or hacks or gimmicks to get you there faster is it worth it because those things are going to, they’re gonna harm your reputation, so when I started the company I wanted to start an agency but with a different philosophy, we’re kind of like the anti-agency agency, and I rail against all the, big agencies and the organizations and stuff and that’s me right that’s me being myself and having a provocative point of view, but I took work from other agencies back then as a higher gun, and it was a means to get me towards my goal eventually I started telling them no because we have enough of our own clients that keeping us plenty busy and we don’t have to be white labeled as well as we’re ready to start hiring our own people so you can make the decision to bring in any customers or work our clients that are going to help you get towards your goal, but you don’t what you don’t want to do is take on things just for the money because money is not the only metric that matters but in our current Society it’s the only one that people care about and you think about what that money costs right there’s a price you’re paying.

Deb Krier: Is it costing you your soul

Bobby G: Or is it putting you into what we call the poor positioning quagmire so I came up with this this term because I’m a marketer and it just sounds lovely but the poor position in Quagmire is essentially a race to the bottom you take on work because you’re you’re not marketing yourself you’re not positioned yourself properly okay so what happens you take on whatever comes it could be the wrong fit most likely it is but you need the money or you want the money so you end up not being successful that customer or that client because it was the wrong fit for whatever reason so you’re not successful so you have no story there’s not there’s no testimonial there’s no potential for a referral there might not even see all the money from that client come in the door anyway because at some point fell apart so you can’t market yourself even further your marketing is your hands are tied even tighter because you have no social proof you have no evidence that this is what you do for whom and here’s the outcomes you provide so you end up spiraling downwards and eventually I believe a lot of businesses especially in Consulting and B to base spaces go out of business because they refuse to commit to a positioning messaging it properly and then marketing to to the appropriate folks the right message in the right place instead of the right thing so take on be very deliberate about the choices you’re making about what money is worth it to you all money is not right the right money is more valuable plus the wrong money takes you away from bringing in the right money as well so there’s no good reason to take on a project just because of the the amount of zeros associated with it because it could cost you more than you than you bargained for right.

Deb Krier: And it does. It comes back, and it bites you. You know, you might be able to make payroll pay your bills, all of those things, but if, in the long run, it wasn’t worth it, then you know it really doesn’t matter, and what you just talked about really is the brand, and I want to come back to what I said at the very start which is that is the absolute foundation and folks your brand is not that fancy swoosh it’s not the orange of your logo or the red of your logo I live in Atlanta where those two big companies most people are going to know who I’m talking about are headquartered. It’s not the cute jingle. It’s not all those things, so tell us, though, Bobby, what do you define as a brand?

Bobby G: It’s your reputation, so it’s really all those things together, and it’s not just a visual expression for the creative expression of that brand, right, because that’s your logo, that’s your messaging, that’s your assets, that’s your stop your website

Deb Krier: And those are important.

Bobby G: Those are absolutely critically important, right? Because think about it, you get the reputation you deserve; is it the one you want? Right, you have to commit to earning that reputation on a daily basis, so everything has to reflect the quality and the mood and the vibe personality, all the things that matter to you as a company, so when you say how do we get a logo to reflect our personality well or reflect our brand well; it’s your personality, right what’s the personality of the brand that contextualizes it in a way and says, okay, without parameters, right your creativity is is is daydreaming and hoping, right so with parameters, it’s innovation, so think about the number of possible solutions for an identity. Without parameters, how do you know what’s right? Well, they’re going to be placating to a decision maker and hoping they like it, but is that really what’s best for the brand and your customer? No, right, so you’ve got to make it something that is a living, breathing thing that’s not so attached to an individual’s whims and ego. It’s the reputation of the brand and the way our people act, the way our people talk about our building, and our place in the community. All these things contribute to that reputation, right, and there’s no shortage of companies out there, and it’s a lot of this in the book where I rail against, you know, oh, we made a lot of money for our stockholders right but again but at what cost right.

Deb Krier: We were horrible to the environment.

Bobby G: Right, or we use questionable labor.

Deb Krier: But we didn’t. We didn’t pay our employees what we should have been, you know, all of those things.

Bobby G: Yeah so like getting into these mega corporations and stuff like they’re making decisions based on that single metrical profit right but with the rest of us that aren’t running Mega corporations and aren’t that kind of questionable ethics to do that you know we have to do what’s right for us but we can also do what’s right for our employees and our customers right and but there’s also a business business advantage to it you’re going to attract better people if you’re creating a culture where people are empowered and respected and they feel engaged and they know how their contribution contributes to the success of the company and they’re also compensated for how their contribution contributes to success in the company right but also your customers want to engage with brands that have a purpose that they share they find important and that doesn’t necessarily mean like saving the wells or the rainforest they shouldn’t be destroying those things and that’s cool if you like want to do those things as well like that we need more people that care but your purpose could be just as simple as you want your clients to be self-sufficient impacted right like our purpose is to make sure our clients got what they need to grow and scale with or without us with us great without us great too right that means we did our job right and that’s to always

Deb Krier: Raise that child and send them on their way.

Bobby G: Yeah, right so and when they have needs again that are more of an enterprise level challenges come on back we would love to help you again but we don’t want to push buttons and pull levers just people that are cheaper and better for that type of thing but we’re going to make sure that the people that are doing the the daily operations of marketing and monitoring and measuring they got what they need to be successful that’s truly what all of us as Leaders that’s our that’s our greatest responsibility right to support our people in the position to be successful I think that’s a Dwight Eisenhower quote don’t quote me on that quote Source but it’s a quote I go to quite often because you think about it right it’s not about micromanaging it’s not about telling people what to do some people giving giving your people what they need to be successful right that’s the reputation we want right so we’re doing everything to making all of our critical decisions around and we think back making your values and your purpose pretty clear like having Clarity around that is so empowering for your operation because when we’re challenged with like oh should we bring this client on should we should we end up with this client is this the right fit whether it’s a person, or a company like her debating it or you know we’re we’re brainstorming around it I know someone just like is can we be successful here, will they appreciate our work can we make them sufficient our self-sufficient can we empower them can we deliver on our promise and it’s like oh wait right we’re putting it through the lens of what how we evaluate the right fit because we don’t want to find ourselves in the poor positioning Quagmire but we’re taking on bad fit money that is expensive more expensive than the profit you know like thinking about all right what’s the reputation we have what’s the reputation we want and where are the things that exist within our brand within our company that we can remove so we’re moving in the right direction and enhanced so we can accelerate our movement towards earning that reputation on a daily basis.

Deb Krier: One of my favorite definitions of the brand is it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room, so you, it’s exactly the reputation. I mean, it’s it is that.

Deb Krier: Or feel.

Deb Krier: Yeah, you know, are people going to say nice things about you, or are they going to say, oh, that Bobby he cuts corners, you know we’re not quite the never meets deadlines, but you know his work’s pretty good.

Bobby G: Or it won’t even be that articulated, right you think this? Just think about it from an everyday standpoint. You know, our friend or colleague has a challenge, and they’re like, oh, you worked with so and so, oh yeah, they suck. That’s all they need to say, right?

Deb Krier: Or the big dramatic pause.

Bobby G: You might want to go elsewhere, but you think about it right, it’s not. You’re not actually conjuring up or remembering the laundry list of things that made that experience suck. You remember how it made you feel.

Deb Krier: Right, you felt taken advantage of.

Bobby G: And you’re like, what, no hell no, that’s a hard no on that, yeah, and that person you gave that recommendation to say no, they’re gonna repeat it. I heard they suck, right.

Deb Krier: Yeah, because somebody will say, hey we, know you were considering, and you’re like yeah.

Bobby G: But also think about the flip side. Hmm, oh, I heard you work with Propr. What’s it like? It was awesome.

Deb Krier: We’d work with them again in a second.

Bobby G: Yeah, oh definitely, they’re not going to push you to know they’re not going to run your marketing for you, but they’re going to make sure you get the most out of it, okay yeah, that sounds interesting. To us you know you want that message the Simplicity of that message everywhere you want it to just kind of emit off your website and your Social and everything you’re putting out in terms of content if that’s how your marketing works you want to live that I without fail and as consistently as possible because when people come and or they’re touched by your brand in one way or another, you want them to get that gut feeling so they self-identify, I like what they’re saying they obviously have the ability to solve my problem or my pain this stuff looks cool it’s easy to find what I’m looking for I’m going to reach out and when especially in the B2B space that’s them actually shopping you right, and they’re considering whether you could help it or not, and when they actually fill out your contact form or add something to their cart, they’ve already made the commitment to purchase without talking to anybody, so if you have a company that part of your sales is a salesperson how do you put them in the position to be successful or track the right leads where they just want to learn more and convert versus them having to vet the customer as well who’s got time for that just think about the Simplicity of doing it right and setting your people up to be successful I mean it all starts with that foundation.

Deb Krier: Right, you know, and one of the things you mentioned that I love that gut feel, how many times have, especially as an agency, we thought, I’m not sure about the client? We’ve all had them right, and then we go through this long drawn out, well, I’m sorry if your initial gut reaction was no, it’s kind of like when you’re meeting somebody in a bar, nah not gonna have a drink with them no it might be fun for a little bit but just not gonna go there right.

Bobby G: Yeah, so we call that. The full F yeah, like you feel that your instincts tell you like you know when humans are developing in the womb-like our, our gut is developed first.

Deb Krier: Yup, that instinct of survival Instinct.

Bobby G: and I remember growing up. I grew up in West Philly. I live in Baltimore now, but you know they talk about Street smarts, and Street smarts are just instincts and Common Sense paying attention to your environment and recognizing things, and it’s sure if you are well in my career, but I always resisted growing up I would get you to know I would find myself as what I call the crossroads right you find each other crossroads all the time, and you’re like if my gut’s telling me don’t go that way, and I’m like I’m going the wrong way, and you pay for it right one way or another, but in business and just in life in general when we’re dealing with other people, your gut’s telling you right your head just has to listen.

Deb Krier: Pay attention to it.

Bobby g: Pay attention to it, and if it’s a full F no or full F yeah, then just move.

Deb Krier: You know and I mean as women you know we frequently have those no I’m not going to work with that guy type of thing you know we’ve had all of that but years ago I was when we were still building a lot of websites and things like that I met with this gentleman and I he didn’t creep me out I mean there wasn’t anything but there was something there there was just something there and I couldn’t put my finger on it but it really was you know that little flutter in the stomach was going down but I went ahead I did all the work I did the proposal yada yada and he came back to me a little bit later and he said he said your proposal was okay I really liked this proposal and I really liked you so I want you to implement their proposal and he’s I know and he sent me the proposal now he had redacted their name except in one place and of course I knew who they were this was Denver you know it’s a huge Market but we all knew each other and so I went back to him and I said dude no because he could have asked me to make changes to my proposal to match it and he didn’t have to give me their work and say hey do this and so I told him I said no that’s incredibly unethical I will not do that and I said and more importantly I called them and I told them oh he was mad.

Bobby G: Good, good for you!

Deb Krier: And when I contacted them, I told them I said obviously it’s your choice, but you need to know this happened, and so they, you know, wouldn’t work with him either, and he went out of business not long after that I mean it was just one of those where you know he just had extremely questionable ethics and he the problem was then he expected that the people he worked with would have questionable ethics also and in the end that really that is your ethics and your reputation are all you have you know you said if you give those away or jeopardize those it’s really hard to get them back.

Bobby G: That’s your legacy, right? Why wait for you to be an old person to worry about your legacy? Why not work on that all the time, right yeah? I mean, I find that’s like an instance of this would only happen to a creative agency like, you know them, we just had a huge project at our house we did our kitchen our house is all, and it sort of involved the entire house even though it was the kitchen and great project it’s done roughly during the go, but it sucked, and then it became great.

Deb Krier: Especially when you don’t have a kitchen for a while, that gets a little ugly.

Bobby G: Well we had to live at the office but we’ll have to get into that which is around the corner from my house. Two dogs, two kids, two adults, yeah, still not over it, but you know, I couldn’t imagine taking the scope of work and the proposal from our contractor and then handing it to another contractor and saying, do this. That’s so crappy.

Deb Krier: Right, it just gives you that little yucky feeling, right?

Bobby G: Yeah you know and it’s happened to me actually I came up with this this company needed 12 websites and I said that’s going to cost a lot of money and they had a micro budget relatively speaking I said we can create one and reskin it reskin it and we didn’t get to work they took it to another agency in town and they decide to do the work and the director of the web direct director used to work with me at another agency and at Propr as my friend and they ended up firing him over that project because it wasn’t their idea right so they didn’t know how to truly implement it they took the agency took the work they had to find a scapegoat it was my friend and he called me up and was like they let me go and I was like well what happened he started explaining it to me I was like that was my my solution my strategy but they didn’t have the most important part how I came up with it and how to implement it they just had oh we just we need to put a man on the moon and they had they did none of this stuff in between getting a man in the moon and it’s like ah which is which is hilarious to me because they they call it small-timore in Baltimore because it’s so small feeling that that came back to me and I’m just like I’ll never respect them.

Deb Krier: You know, and it could have been one person there who was driving that, and you know, it’s, that company’s entire reputation now that is damaged anytime somebody says to you, hey Bobby, what about you’re gonna say don’t work with them I mean you know and yeah I mean we don’t get it back and that I think it is the biggest issue and we see it happen with people all the time where they do something stupid all right you know and it just it jeopardizes everything forever.

Bobby G: I mean, we’re all going to make mistakes, right? Just own it, own up to it yeah it’s cool, but like, when you like to deny it or double down, like no, like there, there’s nothing admirable about doubling down; yeah, you posted it on Facebook. Hello, we all know it trended on Instagram. I mean, yeah, you know it’s like, nah, we know that you wear a putz.

Bobby G: Yeah, like I screwed up, and then then it goes away right because then they’re like, oh okay, you know, because you’re consistent with how you’re you’re acting and treating people and talking it’s like oh we can screw up it’s okay right like we own it we learn from it we move on like when you double down you just you’re not owning a mistake you’re not saying I made a mistake you’re saying.

Deb Krier: And they’re gonna go find another example.

Bobby G: Right, and you’re going to do it over and over and over again.

Deb Krier: And we are all human. I mean, when you look at, say, a sports person who does something that they shouldn’t do if they ignore it, and I understand in a lot of cases they’re being advised by others hello, you’re paying their bills, so you’re still the one in charge but yeah when they say screwed up you know I should not have had that drink I should not have whatever we all go okay yeah we’ve all been there, and we’ve done that but and even if you screw up multiple times I mean you know now there is a limit where people are finally like no just not going to go there but yeah I mean you know and the same is true with companies I mean if you start getting a reputation that is not good, you got to fix it, and you got to fix it fast, and if that’s you have to change your policies or your employees, then you have to fix it up because it’s not going to go away, especially in this day and age I mean how many times when you’re getting ready to work with somebody we Google them now you know, and I still remember this is one of the funniest ones that I work with people on LinkedIn when they are looking for a job so how do you really do that and this guy he was so funny he showed me his cover letter it says, and I’m thinking we still do those do we do cover letters but anyway.

Bobby G: I was just thinking the same thing.

Deb Krier: I know, he was applying, and he said it says in there, when you Google me, which I know you will do, please know I am not the murderer, somebody with the same name, not really not a good person you know, and so, of course, his philosophy was about that right away I just thought it was the funniest thing in the world I told him I said I’d bring you in for an
interview simply based on that I would.

Bobby G: I interviewed somebody 10 12 years ago, and it’s before it was common knowledge to curate your digital footprint right, but their Facebook was open, and there was a picture of them doing a beer bong like drinking a beer bong, and I printed it out as we did the interview in person it was an on-site job I know I think they were a designer, and I printed that just to mess with them at the interview, and I had no prob I got one of those Hangouts I had no problem.

Deb Krier: Right as long as he’s not at the office and it doesn’t affect his work, then yeah.

Bobby G: At that office, I think people probably were doing it because it was miserable, so everyone had to be intoxicated to survive there, but it was fun and funny, and like it reminds me of when before I started the company when the company was pretty young I used to do a lot of speaking to the local universities and meet with like creative apartments and the the the the teacher’s professors and the Deans and as well as students and be on panels and stuff, and I’m looking to get back into that by the way if anybody is looking.

Deb Krier: Professor, right.

Bobby G: It’s a luxury I can’t afford. I retired from teaching.

Deb Krier: Guest speaker.

Bobby G: Fuest speaker absolutely, and one of the I’ll tell students like you can ask me anything like anything I have lots of tattoos, and they would ask me if I cover them up, and I say listen I want people to hire me for what I can do right what I bring to the table my thinking my work my communication my ideas all that not for how I look right not for how I dress and I think that we should all strive for that you know I think there are some exceptions but we just I remember I had an employee some years ago that was really problematic, and we had to let them go because he couldn’t be himself he was constantly putting immense pressure on himself to try to be someone he was, and I would tell them I think well there’s also deception I think he was a fraud so I would tell him like listen, man, like we just want you to be you like that’s all we care about that’s why I hired you that’s why we want you around just be yourself man like there are no expectations.

Deb Kriek: You’re the only you dude.

Bobby G: Right, it’s a perfect segway your brand right and lots of agencies and marketers, and with all due respect to my peers and colleagues and competition alike like they want you to have something flowery and gimmicky to position yourself with the right some sort of differentiator well, your differentiator should be you right because when you are your authentic self, whether you’re an individual or a brand, no one can compete with you on being you, so why not start there? It’s easy to be you if you can commit to it and you’re brave, and you have the courage, but you don’t have to remember these false narratives or these gimmicks. You don’t have to do damage control when that house of cards collapses. You just have to be yourself and think about it again, like putting your business down in salespeople and people that are growth focused on your team in the position to be successful. Isn’t it easier to be inconsistent right so that you’re attracting the right fit from the get-go instead of trying to be something for everybody right?

Deb Kriek: And you’re going to eliminate those that you didn’t want to start with, you know, another LinkedIn example? I was working with a university, and this young woman, her LinkedIn picture, her t-shirt that she wore, which yeah is a little questionable with why you’re wearing a t-shirt for a LinkedIn picture, but that was a different discussion, but it said proud Muslim and this was 10 15 years ago so things were a little bit different then and so I never would call around the class I mean that was and so but I called her up afterward and I said I want to talk to you a little bit about your picture, and she said I know she said but it eliminates the people that I don’t want to work with any way I went okay as long as you recognize that’s what it is the same thing with the people who are you know on either side posting extremes on whatever usually Facebook about politics okay you can be for this party, or you can be for that party but understand that most people are kind of more jumbled up in the middle, and you might have eliminated people by your views but if you didn’t want to work with them anyway then okay that was probably that might have actually been a good thing yeah right I mean you know you think about who you want to hang out with people that you enjoy their company right and if there’s some sort of like extremist where they’re spouting conspiracy theories and they’re nuts about this that and the other thing.

Deb Kriek: Do you really want to be there?

Bobby G: Yeah, and that’s that’s drama, and that’s BS and I have very little tolerance for appetite for BS, and every day it gets less, and I think that one of the secrets to actually being fulfilled or fulfilled and frustrated is minimizing the BS.

Deb Kriek: Right, and I’ll tell you what, as we get older, our BS meter gets tighter.

Bobby G: Right, but it’s not just, but we had to take it one step further. It’s not just eliminating BS for our selfish themselves for everybody, right? So like minimizing it for your people and your team, and you think about, you know, a lot of the gripes against like the Amazon culture.

Deb Kriek: The people at Google who found out in the middle of the night that they’d lost their job I mean really?

Bobby G: You know, and for us all the wrong reasons, we’re told to look up to that confidence, as you know, the leaders and Uber, you know, a couple of years ago with the sexual harassment stuff.

Deb Kriek: And when you mentioned the Boy Scouts, ahh.

Bobby G: The Boy Scouts, right I was in Boy Scouts, and fortunately, nothing happened to me, but there were people that I was on Boy Scouts with that were abused, right, and you know not to go down that Avenue but they’re certainly allowed we all know what organizations are enabling that stuff but like being associated with those organizations shows that you can donate right it’s like there’s there is no neutrality right you have to make a decision and just like a young lady who was the Islam t-shirt like own it right.

Deb Kriek: Right, yeah, when she told me she understood, I was like, fine as long as you understand that.

Bobby G: She doesn’t want to deal with people who are spouting nonsense like she just wants to live her life and have minimal and BS trying to keep a PC with no parental advisory, but just think about it from other people’s perspectives, you know and I think about that in terms of our customers as well as our the people we collaborate on projects like there’s a certain level of respect and appreciation and what’s appropriate inappropriate that like I’m deadly serious about and there’s a really simple exercise that everybody can do in terms of like what culture what’s acceptable to our culture for our brand what’s acceptable to the culture in terms of the individual, and it’s what you would get so fired up about that you would fight over, like go out in the street or the parking lot. What fires you up that way, right you think about most of it like I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t accept misogyny or harassment on my team or talking down to my team like there is no second chance there, but it’s also like what would you fight for in terms of like what you’re trying to create right like like like fulfillment and success and empowerment like I don’t get as fired up to go club or a client if they treat one of the people on my team poorly, but I’m trying to fight as well equally for creating a culture that allows them to be successful and they feel part of something they’ll never feel you know your employees news flash folks your employees will never look at your company the way you do right you can’t make them try to think that way.

Deb Kriek: They love you, but.

Bobby G: They love you, they’re on your team, and you have to, just like any sports, have to give them the lane that they’re in and show how their contribution contributes to success to where you know, we were talking before we started about somebody who got surprised by their boss they thought they were doing great it’s in the book it happened to me I thought I was doing great, and then I got this horrible review I’m like why are you keeping that a secret from me why does this come up after one year

Deb Kriek: Right, why didn’t you want me to improve?

Bobby G: And it becomes an attack, right that’s all it really is. It’s an opportunity to use your power for whatever reasons, and it has nothing to do with improving outcomes or performance, or engagement has everything to do with a power move.

Bobby G: Right yeah and it is all about communication if you have certain values that you want to go through especially your employees then they have to know that you know I think a good example would be a company like Hobby Lobby it’s very faith-based the employees know it’s very faith-based now they might just think it’s great that they don’t have to work on Sunday but you know they don’t hide it in any way and I’m always kind of perplexed when people are like oh my God they’re very religious hello they’re not open on Sunday and but they make it very clear that that is something that is important to them now I’m pretty sure that they don’t go and and you know now where did you go to church today and I mean I’m pretty sure they don’t do that because that can get them in big trouble but if they and so you know your policy and put on on other things too I mean you might be the type of business that socializing after work is very important to you so you know letting people know hey we’re gonna we have our own softball team yo maybe you can’t play but you’re going to be the cheerleader I mean all of those things just communicate with people so that there’s no confusion about it when it happens and and same thing with clients I mean when they look at your materials your website they meet with you they’re going to know okay Bobby is not a yes man he’s not gonna just say yeah and things like that I mean you know and so if that’s what they want then they just go to the next person on their list.

Bobby G: Right! I was talking to a friend and a colleague who’s also a client, and we do consulting within our area of expertise, and she’s a consultant, and I was talking, you know, there are some companies that I feel like it’s just a novelty to say they hired a Brown advisory or Deloitte or Bane say oh you know we’re one of their clients and then we paid him a half million dollars or whatever, and they gave us this two-inch binder that we just put right on the shelf.

Deb Kriek: Right, and you went, oh, that was nice.

Bobby G: And this never did anything because it’s not actually actionable, and it’s just going through their thing, and it’s like. Why do people do that? I’m just kind of trying to unpack everything. I’m constantly thinking about stuff like that; like why would everyone do that? They did it to say they hired Deloitte, right? They worked with Deloitte; the outcomes didn’t matter, so those people are not our clients. They’re not my friend, my associate’s clients because we’re going to come in and say everyone’s been telling you your baby’s beautiful, and we’re like, that baby he’s ugly.

Deb Kriek: Yeah, sorry, we can make it beautiful.

Bobby G: But there are things we can improve here, so like, not a yes, man; it makes me laugh because I am not and never was and never will be because my opinion is special. I believe right it’s different, but that’s the people who hire us. They gotta want that.

Bobby G: Right, and sometimes they don’t.

Bobby G: And I’m gonna give it. They’re like, I was so refreshing to hear somebody give their actual opinion their thoughts on the topic and not just say oh well, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings like, what a waste of time.

Deb Kriek: For everybody.

Bobby G: For everybody, yeah. Develop a point of view.

Deb Kriek: And stand on it, you know, because the problem comes when you say one thing, and you do the other I think probably one of the biggest things that we see companies doing now where they’re getting themselves in trouble is diversity, and inclusion you know where they’re maybe just hiring to fill a quota. I grew up during that time where it was okay; we’re going to have X number and things like that, and then when you really dig into it, it’s like, well, no, all of your senior executives are white males, and you know this was my experience the female was the HR person, so you know but yeah if people if you’re saying this is what we do and you’re gonna take a stand on it then take a stand on it if there’s some you know now you know you don’t really want to say well we’re not diverse we’re not going to be diverse I mean that’s probably going to bite you in a different way but don’t claim to be and then not.

Bobby G: We need to improve there, right I remember working with a client seven years ago. They had a new CMO, and they had big goals, and I was like, well, let’s take a look at everything and look at the website, look at all the materials, and I’m like, you look like a bunch of old white dudes what do you want to be known as. You know they want to get a piece of their pie, and they’re in a similar space. I’m like, you’ve got to be approachable. You got to look like people when people come to your website, and you see.

Deb Kriek: Yeah, the picture of everybody in their suits.

Bobby G: Im like do not do that and people dress how they dress comfortably right where they feel good right don’t come in sweatpants right but when you feel good right you’re like I’m so good right what does that look like for you it better not be a tuxedo because you look like a fool.

Deb Kriek: Yeah, that’s it’s a little…

Bobby G: Is it a suit and tie?

Deb Kriek: Then that’s okay if that’s what you prefer.

Bobby G: Is it a Henley and jeans? Fine, be you right within the brand, it also makes me think of another planet we worked with where the same one of the partners would say, uh oh, we’re diverse, we’re diverse. Now we’ll look at I would look at the employees. I’m like; it’s all white people. Yeah, they’re little cookie cutters. It’s not a problem for us, and that’s the same employee. This is the risk of compromising your values for profit so that the same employee they’re so huge on their values talk about them all the time, so they’re using them for hiring. They said all the right things out of seeing it, but then I met this one guy, and he did everything for selfish gains. He was a high producer for them, made him a lot of money, and became a partner.

Deb Kriek: Right, because he wanted what went with that.

Bobby G: The only criterion to become a partner in this organization was being able to make the contribution needed. There were no other criteria.

Deb Kriek: Wait, I have my visual aid ($$ sound).

Bobby G: So it was all about money, and so they compromised their values with this fella for money, so their value values are meaningless because, like, every decision wasn’t made on what’s best for our brand, what’s best for our customer. It’s what’s going to make us the most money, so saying one thing and doing another, what do we call that a hypocrite like that’s? That’s a harsh sounding word because it has a very deep meaning that should cut deep, and I would hate to have that associated with my company, my brand right me as an individual yeah, and it’s just like just be yourself, and he was deceiving their customers, and it was it’s going to come back right like no matter what the Day of Reckoning will find you.

Deb Kriek: Oh yeah, oh yeah, there’s that thing called karma.

Bobby G: Yeah, I mean, believe it or not, but like, the way you lead your life, the decisions you make impact what happens to you, right? So when I was running the streets of West Baltimore and getting in trouble, and I was talking to my uncle, and he’s like, I heard you got jammed up, and I’m like yeah, I got bad luck, and this is the best advice he’s ever given me that really changed my mind he said you make your own love okay and it was based on the decision that I was making was putting me in those predicaments and decisions we’re making as leaders and and and citizens put us in those predicaments right it’s nothing to do with anything other than ourselves right.

Deb Kriek: Yeah, it is. It’s all about the choices that we make, personally and professionally. Well, Bobby, oh my gosh, this is so much fun we can go on. This is why I set a timer. I could go on forever on this. I mean, this is so much fun which just means…

Bobby G: Are we running out of time?

Deb Kriek: I know we got just five minutes left. Oh wait, can you believe that and so you know we, I’ll have you on again because, like, we just started on this, and to me, this is absolutely critical, as we said, if you’re not very conscious of your brand and your reputation then it’s probably going in the wrong direction right you know because if you’re not paying attention to it it’s going the wrong way, and so it’s yeah it is something that that I think people really absolutely positively have to pay attention to you know I was looking on your website you’ve got your book I love the book hold the book up for those who are watching us, and we will have the link too it. And so, but you also have so much great information on your website. You’ve got freebies, you’ve got your blog, you’ve got all sorts of stuff, but tell us how people find you and what services you provide.

Bobby G: So, of course, you can find us on our website, which is going through a bit of a refresh which everyone should be considering because it’s pivot time within this unpredictable market. It’s just there right now continues to market folks but also takes a hard look at your positioning your assets right and ties in constant Improvement where can we improve to get better outcomes, so it’s proper and Propr, spelled P-r-o-p-r I’m also on LinkedIn, and there’s I do a lot on LinkedIn, and it’s @Bobby G you can find me there. What we do everything we do is really starting with that foundation, so whether we’re doing a new website or helping strategy strategize a campaign or going to market with a new product or service, we start with brand strategy, so it’s brand strategy, and positioning your product or service or company it’s where we start whether that’s a formal exercise or not we need to know who you are and what you do for whom, and oftentimes we help you clarify that as well so it gives a lot of people the confidence to do what they need to do. We also do branding and Identity Design so everything around Design Systems for all your stuff brand communication so message mapping and saying the right things to the right people in the right place web development design Primo I come from a deep E-commerce background but we’re going to do a ton of e-commerce mostly corporate Enterprise websites tracking folks converting them saying the right thing. Being the Hub of your marketing activity, campaign strategy, and creative, so getting out in front of the right people with your stuff and written packaging, we don’t always do consumer products, but we have deep history there. We’re working with a brewery out of Jersey, and we’re talking with a company out of China now; it’s a lot of fun to do it, but we’re not in Austin or Southern California, so we don’t really specialize in that because all those agencies down there. We also make sure that our marketing and sales folks have what they need, so We do marketing and sales collateral, and the last thing we do is something that is really important to those marketing leaders now is brand Ops, so we really focus on creating the operations around Your brand, so it’s working for performance so a lot of times you know you have a new identity a new website to hand it over and you’re like now what?

Deb Kriek: Now what?

Bobby G: That’s not good enough so we’re bridging that Gap and we’re doing we’re filling any gaps or we’re starting from scratch and creating a brand that’s built to perform with processes operations punch lists all the tools and templates that you may need to be able to run your marketing with or without us so Brand Ops is a really fun thing for us to do to make sure everyone has what they need to rock and roll.

Deb Kriek: I love it, I love it, and like I said, you’ve got so many great resources on the website in addition to your book, so you know it was, and what I loved about the book is it’s talking about how to be better as a business, but it’s also talking about how to be better as a person and you know we all can use a little nudge on occasion you know, some people need bigger nudges, but we all need little nudges on occasion just oh yeah right right, so yeah, like yeah, please please check that out well Bobby oh my gosh do you have any final thoughts that you want to leave us with?

Bobby G: One, you can find the book on Amazon and also I am not that Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream there’s another Bobby Gillespie or the lead singer of Primal Scream and I get tagged on Instagram all the time and post related to Primal Scream and our developer our web developer is a fan of them he laughs at it you know the last thing I want to say is really work on you know your brand as a person or a company you know really focus on and use this litmus test so what’s better is this what’s best for the brand and our future customer and use that as a way to evaluate every decision you’re making big or small but also help people in your team understand what is best for your brand what is best for your future customer because they’re going to be making decisions with or without you and you want those decisions to be what’s best for the brand not what’s best for Joe in accounting or what’s best for Mary in marketing right we want it we want to make sure that everybody’s moving in the same direction we have a common goal and we’re all on the same team not a family a team right we’re on a mission to accomplish something to leave with your vision and purpose and unify around that.

Deb Krier: Oh my gosh, I love it so much fun. Well, I’m Deb Krier. I’ve had a great time talking with Bobby Gillespie Bobby G, and until next time everyone, have a great day.

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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