June 8, 2022

Having Fun with a Brand with Lori Cohen

by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing

Show Notes

Lori Cohen, fractional CMO at Chief Outsiders and former VP of Marketing for Percona, joins us this week to talk about the importance of your brand— not just your branding. From popping balloons with Veridium to saying “Mongo Wrongo” with Percona to falling in love with Made In pans, Lori explains how brands earn the right to live in our heads through keeping it personal and not being afraid to have a little fun with longer term strategies.

Timecoded Summary:

[03:27] Navigating brand identity and metrics in a high pressure environment

[07:48] Effective guerrilla marketing through thought interruption

[15:39] Showing up beyond the gimmick to create an impactful convention experience

[25:01] Getting in the heads of your audience and earning brand recognition

[33:36] Personalized communication and its impact on audience connection

Be sure to check out the photos and videos of the Mongo campaign, referenced by Lori, here!

How do you navigate that brand when you're in one of these venture-backed, high pressure, high performance environments?

When talking about branding goals, Lori is quick to explain her distaste for short-term goal measurement and how much focus certain brands spend on MQLs. Although short-term metrics can seem extremely successful, longer term projects with larger goals often lead to higher chances of profitability. Although it might take some convincing, Lori advises her fellow marketers to ask for the resources for longer term projects over the MQL-focused short-term.

“No one likes to talk about it. Nobody likes to put money towards it, and everybody confuses brand with branding. So, those are even some places that we can start.”

Can you explain how you go about sourcing these creative things instead of just sorting by cheapest?

As Lori explains her adventures in brand marketing, one question we kept asking ourselves was: How can we do that? It’s easy to fall for cheap marketing materials, like coffee cups and

pens, but those items rarely connect to our brand’s message. In Lori’s experience, the best way to source these creative ideas is long-term planning, similar to other marketing strategies she endorses. When we make our swag a part of our brand message, we avoid the gimmicks.

“It wasn't just a gimmick for gimmick sake. We got to translate that message into the pain that we know everybody feels and then demonstrate our technology.”

Tell us why you prefer that consumer brand over others. What is it that they do that's really good in brand building?

For an example of a brand that speaks to her heart, Lori tells us about her love of Made In. Made In makes pots, pans, and assorted cookware for people just like Lori, who are passionate about high quality tools to make high quality meals. Made In speaks to Lori and inspires her loyalty not only through living up to their high quality purpose, but for their consistent messaging and their focus on the right audience.

“They want to speak to me. They don't want to speak to my friend Robin, who we may look alike in terms of our demographics, but she has never cooked in our life. They would be wasting a fortune to go after her. They're really going after people like me.”

How would you feel if our brand disappeared?

Brands make their way into our heads and have the permission to stay there through connecting with us on a personal level. Lori is quick to remind us that, no matter how our customers and potential clients are connecting to us, there needs to be a personal approach to what we do and how we speak to them. From making sure our emails aren’t just automated by no-reply accounts to reaching out with fun messages and memes, we only can succeed with inspiring brand loyalty when we make ourselves worthy of that loyalty.

“I'm not saying it's easy, but the ones that do that well, I think they actually get invited into your home and begin feeling about your brand in a different way. And then your emails seem less spammy, and maybe more welcome in their inbox.”

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Spend some time with our guest Lori Cohen on LinkedIn, Twitter, the  Chief Outsiders website 

Additional resources mentioned in this podcast:

Follow Gianna on LinkedIn

Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn

Join the Cybersecurity Marketing Society on our website, and keep up with us on Twitter

Keep up with Hacker Valley on our website, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter



Transcript

Having Fun with a Brand with Lori Cohen

Gianna 00:00
Hey, hey, everyone! Just popping in before the episode starts to let you know that Maria and I are going to be at RSA this year, and we'd love to see you.
Maria 00:10
Come see us at the Axonius booth. We'll be doing a recording for an interview with the Axonius and the Hacker Valley guys. We'd love to meet you in person, hit us up on LinkedIn DM and yeah, we'd love to see you.
Gianna 00:25
Bring signs that say, "Love you, Maria and Gianna," to that Axonius booth recording. It's gonna be noon on Wednesday the 8th. And we're both so excited to see you.
Maria 00:35
Enjoy the next episode.
Gianna 00:36
Welcome to the Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing Podcast.
Maria 00:40
Where we explore the hottest topics in cyber marketing.
Gianna 00:43
Interview experts.
Maria 00:44
And help you become a better cybersecurity marketer.
Gianna 00:56
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing, where we interview experts, visionaries, luminaries, and just plain awesome people on the world of cybersecurity marketing. I'm your co-host, Gianna Whitver.
Maria 01:13
And Maria, as usual.
Gianna 01:15
Wahoo, and we have a very special guest today. The magnanimous, the amazing the visionary Lori Cohen. Yay!
Lori 01:26
Damn, I don't know that I can like, live up to that.
Gianna 01:29
So, I'm so excited, we're both so excited to have Lori Cohen on today. Lori is a fractional CMO at Chief Outsiders, and she has years of experience being a CMO for a variety of cybersecurity and technology companies. She previously was the VP of Marketing at Percona. She was the CMO at Veridium. And she's also been CMO at MST Services to Mobiquity, Inc. And this is just a few of her career accolades. Lori, we're so excited to have you.
Lori 02:03
Thank you. It's great to be here.
Gianna 02:06
All right, and today's topic is brand, which I think is one of your favorites, right?
Lori 02:11
Yes, it is, it is. That maligned word, right? No one likes to talk about it. Nobody likes to put money towards it, and everybody confuses brand with branding. So, those are even some places that we can start. But my feeling is, and what I've been able to execute against, is this notion that brand can actually drive demand. So, you want to really lean into it, and not feel like it needs to be measured as performance marketing, it has to be measured the way it was intended to measure it, and that's really a longer-term strategy. Because think for yourself, what companies take up mind in your head, it's those ones that you repeatedly see over and over, year in or year out. They get room in your brain and so, when you're looking for a new pair of shoes, you bring up that brand. If you don't do that, if you don't establish the brand, you're not going to win in the short run, but you're going to lose in the long run. And to me, companies should be in the long run game, not the short run game. So, that's why I believe
focusing on brand driving demand is so important.
Gianna 03:27
I think it's interesting in the world of cyber, especially because we just have so many companies out there. We're all kind of saying the same thing, it's hard to differentiate, they may have a short-term focus, because there's a lot of venture capital behind these companies. So, that kind of squeezes your timeline and your timeframe down to like, "Okay, this quarter, we need to x, x, x, and execute." How do you navigate that brand when you're in one of these venture-backed, high pressure, high performance environments?
Lori 03:59
Yeah, I mean, I think that is so hard, right? Let's just face it, it's so hard because everybody wants that short term hit, but what do you mean by short term? Typically, what I've found is, you're judged by, "How many MQLs can you bring in this quarter?" You're not judged by your entire pipeline, you're not judged by opportunities closed throughout your business. So, if you're only judged, like for MQLs, then you know what? You're going to do all those programs that we know don't work. Content syndication. We'll add words, striving to a white paper. It's going to incent you to do the wrong kind of behavior that maybe looks good on paper, if you report on MQLs, but in the long run, are you really building the business for your investors, right? And I know it's hard to convince them of that. That's why the model has to change a little bit and you have to start thinking about like, accounts in market, qualified accounts, not just judging, "Oh, we did so great because we got all of these MQLs." And the other trick is lead scoring. We change our lead scoring, we have more MQLs. But again, do they convert?
Probably not. However, if you build your brand and really stand for something in the mind of your buyer, when they're ready to buy, they're going to turn to you, and then that deal is actually going to go through, and it's going to become a sales qualified lead, and it's going to go down into your pipeline and become actual revenue. So, I think the problem begins with: How are you being judged? And how are the investors judging you? And can you change their mindset?
Maria 05:41
That's interesting that you mentioned investors, because I think a lot of times, the problem does start with the board, with the investors, and the type of advice they give founders. And if it's, also, if it's a first-time founder, they take all kinds of advice to 100% and want to implement it right away and change strategy and pivot. What can we do? I don't know if we all have the answers, but what can we do to change that? We need to change it from the root cause.
Lori 06:07
I agree. And I don't mean to turn this on you, but what do you think? You know you can hit your short term MQLs, right? We all know that. And so sometimes, I think you have to look at almost like, a double pipeline, figure out how you can feed that machine with MQLs, but then also try to convince the CEO, the board that you want to take this amount of money for a longer-term strategy. And you're going to be upfront with them, you're going to say, "You may not win this quarter, or next quarter, but you're going to see, if you stay the course, you will win." And we know through COVID, that the companies that kept in the game are the ones that did better than the ones that immediately sucked their advertising dollars out to ride out and see how COVID was going to be. So, maybe you could create a two-prong strategy. What I do, specifically, is I try to say what my tactics and strategy are for the outcome I want. So, I'm
right up front to say, "Okay, I don't believe that search works for enterprise-type products, but we all know we have to do it. So, can we use search and different types of search that maybe we can do the high-intent keyword for things you really think might convert, but then just admit the fact that we're trying to get eyeballs?" We're trying to get eyeballs and increase the amount of times your brand is in front of someone, to get some more of that recognition, but be honest about that strategy. Don't say, "Oh, it's going to drive at this CPC, it's going to drive this amount of leads, etc., etc.," when we know those leads aren't going to convert.
Gianna 07:48
Right. Unless you have really good historical data modeling, "Oh, we're gonna like, bid on these keywords, and it's gonna result in X amount of pipeline next quarter." It's tough, it's not going to really hash out. You could always estimate, but like you said, Lori, unless it's a really high-intent keyword, it's going to be a little bit of a crapshoot. Can you talk a little bit about how brand influences the pipeline and how you set that up kind of operationally? Because you're saying, "Oh, we're going to take this amount of money and apply it towards brand," out of the budget instead of demand and lead-gen and our traditional content syndication, webinars, programs that result in email signatures, basically. How are you saying, like, based on your experience, what are you thinking? And what are you saying, if we do brand activities, it will result in X amount of pipe? Can you say that? Or how do you navigate that conversation?
Lori 08:45
So, I don't think you can. So, I can just sort of talk about some examples, which I think is the best way to go. Now, one example I use is not a cybersecurity company, but you can still use those same strategies and tactics. I said, "Okay. We had one thing in mind." We wanted to go after a certain competitor, that was way ahead of us, the 800-pound gorilla. Can I name names? I can name names?
Maria 09:10
Absolutely. Why not? And cursing is encouraged.
Lori 09:13
Okay, so Mongo, right? Mongo. Big kind of database powerhouse, right? And so, what we tried to do is really play in— And they were about to release like, a new product, right? Their whatever version of Mongo. So, we did some fun things. One thing we did as Mongo Wrongo, right? So, to kind of play off of them, to you kind of trail their brand, right? So, when they released and had their big two-day conference, we had live podcasts on LinkedIn basically bringing in other voices. Are they really as open source as you think they are? How are they treating the community? We did a bunch of stuff like that. We did a bunch of webinars, right? That again, and sort of rode what they were doing into our audience. And we did do, of course, white papers, right? For sure. We did a lot of stuff, but not everything did you have to sign up for because part of the deal was, I heard from our sales team that we got into the game way too late, because no one knew we did Mongo, didn't know we could help. So,
I said, "Okay, what does that say?" That says we don't have brand awareness, right? So, let's come up with strategies and tactics that could help with brand awareness. And you know what? Our pipeline from Mongo doubled in a quarter, based on all of these integrated strategies. Of course, we did email, we did webinars, we did these live podcasts, we did really fun kind of videos, and all of that helped drive this message that, "Oh, this is an alternative to Mongo." And again, we rode their wave, so there was a natural search for Mongo during their release of software, and we got on that wave. And I would suggest that's something that a lot of cyber companies can do. Look for the gorilla and ride their wave and interrupt their programming. Interrupt their programming. For me, the only thing we didn't get is we didn't get Mongo to comment on us, but we knew they were so smart that they wouldn't. There are some companies that you can get mad enough that they start commenting on you, and that's when you know, you've kind of like, really sort of cut through with your message, etc.
Maria 11:36
That's really interesting. I mean, that's fun. It's definitely sneaky, but it's fun. Maybe I should look at it differently, but I get annoyed when competitors bid against our name as a keyword in ad words and it's like, "Come on, has plenty of other stuff. Why do you have to go after our name?" But that is a tactic and it works sometimes.
Lori 11:54
We didn't do that. We didn't. We just did it with lots and lots and lots of content, right? And we try to optimize pages for their keywords, but we didn't buy their keyword, just to be— And plus, it wouldn't matter. They're the 800-pound gorilla. That probably wouldn't have helped that much for us, but having all that content, changing everybody's LinkedIn background to our Mongo imagery. Come on.
Maria 12:23
Okay, we're gonna need some screenshots on the show notes to show everyone this stuff.
Gianna 12:27
Oh my gosh, Laurie, I didn't expect to hear this story. This is like, amazing. And I love that this is a true brand perspective. You're saying thought interruption, you know? Like, hey, because this isn't about, "Oh, how many like, leads did we get?" This is about, "Let's interrupt the mindset of the customer, of the potential customer. Let's make sure when they think of Mongo, which they already know, right? Mongo has enough money. They could do Superbowl ads. We're little, we're smaller. We're fighting our way up. Let's get on the tail end of what everybody already knows and do that." I love what you said: thought interruption. I love that phrase so much.
Lori 13:03
And again, you guys, anybody can do that, right? Anybody can do that. And I think, when you think about it, you've got to think creatively. What's the message? How are you going to visualize that message? What are those words that you're going to use, right? And have fun with it, and I can share, if you want me to share how I sort of thought about how we, as a startup, could stand out in cybersecurity, particularly— Remember when there were trade shows? Yeah, we went to places like RSA, right? I can share a little bit about what we did to try to make some noise but to stay true to our brand.
Gianna 13:45
Before we go on to that, though, I have one more question because I think some people have fear—And I have been in that situation where I'm like, "Oh, we could go against the big dog, but then they're kind of crush us because they have a lot of money, so it's very easy to wipe out our noise." However, if you're not competing on these channels that are money-driven, right? If you're doing like, organic, if you're doing search optimization, if you're just doing stuff where you pay and it's out there, and they're not competing with you, like, instead of paid search where they could totally wipe out your keywords, if you're doing it on social, if you're doing it on other places where you're a little more independent, they can't wipe you out there. They can't silence the upstart. But one thing I think that creates fear is the legal side of the house, right? Did you have any concerns, or did your team have any concerns about running this Mongo Wrongo campaign?
Lori 14:37
No, because really, we were talking about, you know, a strategy, right? So, Mongo, when it first launched, it was this open-source company, but as they grew and grew and grew, they really stopped being as much of an open-source company as they really started being, and they started ignoring the community. So, that's what we were trying to tap into. It's more like, how they changed in their strategy. It wasn't about their software, it was really about their strategy. And because Percona is kind of positioned itself as like, the white knight, in the sense that we were so open-source, it was a position that we could hold and be true to. And then we got other voices into the story, not just Percona voices, so it didn't seem like just us against them. We asked some of the questions about how the community is being served, etc. So, that's kind of how we played that.
Gianna 15:39
Very cool. All right, tell us about for Veridium.
Lori 15:43
Okay, so Veridium, a cybersecurity company hitting its stride. And basically, the goal of Veridium is to eliminate passwords, like let's face it, there are a lot of companies out there that have that same mission. How do we eliminate passwords from the ecosystem? We're all very familiar with our iPhones. I'm sure we all use some touch ID or face ID, and that's what we call biometric authentication, right? So Veridium went with biometric authentication. Let's use our biometrics instead of passwords, and build a total back-end system that allows you to actually not have passwords. Many cybersecurity companies actually just obfuscate the password, but they're still there. Veridium's tactic was to get rid of it within back end and integrate with Microsoft, and other kind of big guys, so that was their strategy. But when we launched we had a very unique biometric, in addition to face and touch, and it was called: four fingers touchless ID. Now why? Because that was like a descriptive name. Four fingers, right? Four
fingers better than one, right? But actually, it's proven that you can spoof thumbs, it's kind of easy. So, we had four fingers touchless ID. So, we were going to RSA, we're going to Gartner, and I knew I needed to make some noise in this space. And so, we came up with a couple of things and first, let's just talk about the strategy. The strategy was trying to connect a B2B product and make it B2C, right? I wanted you to remember the pain that we all have with passwords. So, you're probably not going to be able to see these. So, we did these very large, oversized postcards, right? And they had sort of cool images. Security shouldn't require impressive acts of mental strength, right? Stop juggling all those passwords, pins, and security tokens, right? Security doesn't have to be so precarious, etc. And I like this one, "Don't bend over backwards to log in. "Come on, we all know what all that feels like, right? So, we did this whole thing around PINs and passwords and, "Use your pin for the last time." And so, we had all of these balloons, there was a helium shortage, but we were able to get helium, blew up all
these balloons, put prizes in them, and then when you came to the booth, the kind of gimmick was use your pin for the last time, but we gave you a pin, then pop the balloon, and you get various prizes. And man, did it make a lot of noise.
Gianna 18:27
Literal, literal noise.
Lori 18:31
I mean, it went like pop because we were popping balloons. And so, then we gave out things like these, which I still have and I love.
Gianna 18:40
What are these, for the listeners?
Lori 18:41
These are gloves, but notice these are gloves that have the fingers cut off. So, if you were using four fingers touchless ID, you could actually use them with your iPhone or Android, and have these gloves on. Also, too, they’re awesome running gloves, so I use them all the time. But so, I tried to come up with things that were sort of tied back to the brand. You guys, I know you've all been to RSA, let me tell you, the booth that had the longest line were the ones with the live puppies. Have you seen those?
Gianna 19:14
We actually just talked about the puppies in our last episode, in our episode with Richard Malik.
Lori 19:22
Right? People love puppies! How could you not go? So, we were competing with the puppies. So, we were popping balloons and people were getting really sort of rattled, but they came over because they wanted to know what was going on here. That was really a lot of fun and of course, we collected a lot of names and we got to demonstrate our technology. So, it wasn't just a gimmick for gimmick sake. We got to translate that message into the pain that we know everybody feels and then demonstrate our technology. So, it was pretty cool and it did work. It worked pretty well.
Maria 19:53
That's awesome. Did you get in trouble with RSA for making the popping noise with the balloons?
Lori 19:58
I got in trouble at Gartner. Gartner, even though you have to get everything approved ahead of time, they were really pissed. And I was like, "You knew, we went through this with you, we said exactly what we were going to do." But we had to sort of, like, lower the popping noise. And the other thing that I saw that I thought is a win is when you have your competitors come over and go, "Oh, that's really cool." Because our booth was designed like these, it wasn't like the straight kind of Veridium messaging, it was really the core message of what this was and the pain that we were trying to address. And so, it looked pretty different from most other, most other booths with our messaging.
Gianna 20:46
And now, we'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and producers, Hacker Valley Media. Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings run an amazing studio here, which produces not only the Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing podcast, but a bunch of other shows that you're going to want to listen to as
well. So, all these shows, plus more, and then, on top of that, probably even more coming soon, are available to look at listen to and sponsor at HackerValley.com. Make sure you go over there and say, "Hey, Gianna, and Maria said I should come check out your website, listen to your shows, and sponsor a podcast or two."
Gianna 21:20
I love that you tie— We had a big discussion about this in the pre-call, like tying your swag and your guerilla marketing and everything you're doing back to the brand. We're in the new world of the postCOVID, events are coming back and we're trying to figure out: What do we do for swag? What do we do for giveaways? What do we do for brand experiences? Are we just going to all continue doing wine hosting events and giving away Yeti mugs? Those are great, because they do advertise your brand on the desk and people like yetis, but like, it doesn't tie in to what anyone does unless you're also doing some sort of container security, or data, maybe data encryption? I don't know. So, that's such a fun thing to think about. This is like, the fun brand stuff of marketing, like the gloves, the password list, the pin popping, but it's hard to actually do because it's not the easiest route to doing things. It's so much easier to pick stuff out of a catalog, that's the cheapest thing, and get a bunch of pens. So, Lori, can you explain or talk a little bit more about the effort and like, how you go about sourcing these creative
things instead of just going and sorting by cheapest?
Lori 22:39
I totally get that. And so, what we did for these events is we decided we were going to have a theme for the entire year. So, it wasn't just for one event, because it's a lot, it's a lot of work. So, we knew for the three major trade shows we were going to do and some of the small ones, this was our event, we were going to go all-in with this theme. So, I knew it ahead of time, so we planned ahead of time. And I worked with an agency ahead of time, I knew what I wanted in terms of like, kind of finding that pain and doing it in a creative way, but we invested the time upfront in doing that. And I think that's what makes the difference and now that we're going back to trade shows, and trust me, Gianna, it's hard. You can say we just got lucky with the four fingers, but no, we really sort of tried to think about like, "What do we do?" Of course, we have those iPhone holders that you put behind your iPhone, but again, everybody has those. But when we did it, it was because this is the center of the life that we're creating for this brand. It's your phone. So, I did try, I had iPhone screens where you clean your screens, these little mechanical things. So, trust me, we went that route too, but we tried to tie
everything back to what we thought was central, which was the phone and that experience. I'm not gonna say it's not hard. I'm working at a database company now, a different one. It's hard. It's hard, it's hard, it's hard, but you got to spend that mental time trying because, like you said, that's the fun part of marketing. So, invest the time ahead of time. Can't do it six weeks before, but you can do it six months before. Get all that right. And you know, by the way I know everybody loves to bash Gartner I really met with their go-to-market people and I said, "Hey, this is what we want to do." And they really helped validate the approach, the messaging, the tactics, etc.
Maria 24:36
Love that. Yeah, that's awesome. Lori, you once posted about one consumer brand that you think does brand building really well, which was Bed Bath and Beyond. Tell us why you think that?
Lori 24:50
Damn.
Maria 24:53
Tell us why you prefer that consumer brand over others and what is it that they do that's really good in brand building? That we could do here on the cybersecurity side.
Lori 25:01
All right. So, I'm telling you, I don't remember when I posted that. So, you're gonna have to give me some context, but I can tell you a new one that I really like. Let's do it. So, the brand is called Made In. Do you guys know that?
Gianna 25:15
Yeah. For the listeners and for the one co-host that doesn't know what the heck Made In? Can you explain it?
Lori 25:22
Yes, so Made In was a brand that I truly just discovered, I mean discovered, and it makes pans and pots and other kinds of cookware or entertainment ware. So, how did I discover them? We did a whole kitchen renovation, and we got an induction stove. And I have a bunch of like, really expensive, all-clad pan that you got to mortgage your house to buy. And I decided I needed other stuff, right? I needed a wok, I needed different sizes. And I was like, "I don't want to take out a second mortgage for those. What can I get that'll work with my stove?" That's when I hit up my friend, Mr. Google, searched for everything, read reviews, found this company, never heard them before, and they had a wok that worked on my stove, whatever, put the money down, got it. Well, I was so impressed with it, with the packaging, with the presentation, that when I needed another size pot, it was like, a four-quart pot, I immediately thought, "I'm gonna go back to Made in." I bought that, and again, great experience. They
didn't harass me in terms of email, etc., etc. Then I got this awesome, beautiful catalog from them and I read about them. I didn't really read about the brand before. And it's for inspired cooks that want to have the same type of sort of cookware that the big guys, the chefs have. And for me, I realized I am an aspiring sommelier, and I'm a total foodie, and that really cemented my relationship with the brand because I felt like, "Oh my god, they're talking to me, they're talking to me, because that's what I want." And so damn, if I don't have knives from them. And then I bought these fabulous wine glasses and a decanter, and they do not break the bank, but the quality of them is awesome. And it makes me feel like I can cook better, I can serve better, I can entertain better, because I feel so aligned with their brand. Again, it was a discovery for me, nobody told me about them. And when I first found them, it was about what they did, not who they were, but once I got to know them, I really felt so connected to that
brand, that I am a total promoter of what they do and how they sort of segment their market and how they know exactly who they want to speak to. They want to speak to me. They don't want to speak to my friend Robin, who we may look alike in terms of our demographics, but she has never cooked in our life. They would be wasting a fortune to go after her. They're really going after people like me, the aspiring chef sommelier that wants to be inspired by the greatest chefs and cookware in the world.
Maria 26:01
Gosh, the way you explain it makes it just so relevant to B2B. Like we don't have to be a consumer brand to actually do this. We can do this in B2B.
Lori 27:48
I absolutely think so. But remember, to me, it's about how do you get mindshare, right? You need to deserve to own a little piece in somebody's mind. Do you know what I mean? That's a huge undertaking to go from, "Ah, yeah," to, "Oh, you get to rent space in my head." And for me, Made In did that transition, they have space in my head, I will be loyal to that brand to the end. I tell people about it all the time. I'm writing a blog about them because I love them, because they inspired me. And I think, yes, I totally believe other brands can do that. It's hard. You know, we sell software, we sell cybersecurity, but look for that. Simon Sinek calls it, "The why." Look for that, "Why?" And try to build what you're doing around that why. And guess what? You will be able to build that relationship, so somebody will agree to let you rent space in their head.
Gianna 29:35
I love that so much, and it's an interesting proposition, right? We have all these companies that's like, what is the why behind each of these companies? Why are we doing this? It's not to make money for an IPO, or make money and get acquired and— I mean, internally financially, companies are gearing towards that, but the "why" really has to be about what you just said, deserving the mindshare of our prospects and customers. So, how can we do that better, Lori?
Lori 30:03
Yeah. So, I think part of it is talking to your customers all the time to try to uncover that. Somebody told me the one best question to ask that will tell you whether or not you're even on the track to becoming a— I'm just going to say a company that will allow you to rent mindshare in their head. How would you feel if we were gone? How would you feel if our brand disappeared? So, that's very different than the Net Promoter Score, but that could give you some direction. "I don't care," right? Or if they go, "Oh, I'm gonna miss you." Or, "Noooooo," etcetera.
Maria 30:42
Wow, mind freakin’ blown right now. I'm totally gonna write this down.
Gianna 30:47
Yeah, we're definitely gonna put this in a blog post. So, on that topic, people would cry, would people cry? Or would people feel like, "Oh, my life is so much worse if this company left?" What other ways do you measure brand and measure your impacts there?
Lori 31:02
Well, I think there, you might have to do a little bit. Like, for me, what I measure are things like organic search, and organic search volume. And are you searching for my brand? So, if those things are tracking, and they're going up, you know you're having an impact, right? Because people are recalling.
Maria 31:21
That is literally one of my goals on my plan.
Lori 31:24
And of course, you want more followers. You want more followers on Twitter, you want more kind of followers on LinkedIn. But in addition to that, you want that engagement piece. Like, how do you engage? Like, when you post something, maybe you don't need 300 likes or retweets, but if you get 10 interactions, and then you make sure you respond to them, isn't that more important than 300 likes? Because we're not for everybody, our brands aren't for everybody. So, try to tap into the people that it is for and make them feel special. And to me, I can tell you, I did this at Veridium, we created a meme and every time we got a new subscriber on Twitter, we sent them that meme, right? And said something about them, actually looked at their profile, what they were interested in and sent them a meme. So, it was personal, and I think being personal then will allow people to feel personal about your brand.
Gianna 32:24
So, I'll tie this back to our pre-call. So, everybody who's listening, me and Lori had a great call, like a couple of months ago when we were talking about this podcast, and I lost the notes because I wrote them on a piece of paper and then reorganized my office like, seven times and that's very bad, because oops, I really should have written them digitally. But one of the things I remember from our call, which I couldn't remember a lot of our call, I remember how I felt talking to Lori, I remember that Lori was awesome, that we had so much fun chatting, and that I was so excited for this podcast. So, Lori, your brand has impacted, like, you have impacted me and I think that's something we can all aspire to, in our interactions with customers from a brand perspective, too, right? Regardless of if they remember the email that we sent as step two of our nurture campaign, do they have a feeling associated with our company? Do they remember that the interactions that we have with them as customers and prospects as positive, as a good feeling?
Lori 33:26
I mean, I think, A, that's awesome that you brought up that point. I mean, not the point about me, but I do appreciate that.
Gianna 33:33
Not the point about the fact that I'm disorganized.
Lori 33:36
I couldn't remember why I thought BBB was a great brand, gotta go back and look at what I said about them. Must have been something during the pandemic, must have been like, pandemic brain. But no, I think that's so true what you said, like, how do you make your customers feel? Now, granted, so much easier in person, when you're at that trade show booth, shaking hands and having fun with people. But how do you translate that into emails? So, let me ask you both this. When you send out emails from your company, do you put your name on them? Or somebody on your team? You do.
Maria 34:11
Oh yeah, we don't use no-reply or any of that. It's a real email. If you reply to it, it goes to a person.
Lori 34:16
Yeah, but who's it from? Is it from that person? It is? Yeah. So, I'm that same way, too. 100% because we know we're people. It always shocks me, and I'm sure you guys can relate to this, and it has to do even with product marketing and how we see our personas. Surprise, we're all people, we put on our pants or sweat pants one leg at a time.
Gianna 34:45
Security Professionals wear pants?
Lori 34:47
Well, at some point, you know, right? So, but the point is like, we're not different when we walk into our office and close the door. You don't have to talk to me in geek speak, talk to me like I'm a person. I am a person, you're a person. Cut through the kind of BS of using acronisms and whatever, whatever. Like, are you using the language that you would talk to your friend? And if you're not, I think you're like, what you said, Maria, you're not building that personal relationship. It's more like, company, prospect versus friend to friend. God, no, I know it's hard to know. So, I'm not saying it's easy, but the ones that do that well, I think they actually, again, get invited into your home and begin feeling about your brand and in a different way. And then your emails seem less spammy, and maybe more welcome in your inbox.
Maria 35:43
Love that.
Gianna 35:44
Should we do our game?
Maria 35:45
Yeah.
Lori 35:46
Oh, no, I'm bad at games.
Gianna 35:50
Do you want to explain the game, Maria?
Maria 35:52
Yeah, this is an easy one. So, Lori, we usually like to ask our guests at the end of the episode, what they would be doing today if they weren't in cybersecurity marketing? And what Gianna and I do, we take a guess at some sort of profession, and then you tell us how wrong we were and what the truth is. I want you to be wrong first, Gianna, and then I'll be wrong second.
Gianna 36:18
Okay, I'll be wrong first. Lori, you're super exuberant and excited and passionate and you gave us a hint, which is great. You said you're like, a budding sommelier. So, I can picture you heading a very small boutique restaurant, maybe a French restaurant, one of those little hole-in-the-wall places where there's like, four tables, and getting to go out and talk to people who are eating at the restaurant and like, talking to them one on one about the food and about the wine when telling the whole story. That's my guess. Maria, what about you.
Maria 36:59
So, I'm going to cheat and stay in the same culinary space, but I'm going to say Lori, you would have a cooking show on TV. I think you would be amazing at it actually.
Lori 37:12
I love that. I love both of these ideas. And I did say my next career is as a sommelier, so I do kind of play, but then also there are certain things that I love to cook and I always sometimes will literally get out kind of a spreadsheet and say, "Okay, can I make this and distribute it?" Like, I make an amazing quiche, right? But here's the deal, I put a stick of butter in the crust. So, when you begin looking at all the costs, you'd have to sell it for like, $25. So, I'm not going to do that and my husband always reminds me like, if you think life is hard now, run a restaurant. Not gonna do it, but oh my god, you both have me pegged. For sure, I love it.
Maria 37:54
Awesome. Well, Lori, that's also my dream. So, if you ever think about it, and you need a partner.
Lori 38:01
Let's do it. We can taste all that wine. I love it.
Maria 38:05
Lori, this has been an amazing chat. Thank you so much. I came out of this talk with so much advice and so much insight that I know I could probably apply literally next hour at my job.
Lori 38:16
Well, thank you. Anyway, you are both wonderful, so you bring out the best in your guests. So, you make it easy.
Gianna 38:23
Aw, thank you. So, Lori, how can people contact you?
Lori 38:27
So, I am at Chief Outsiders. So, it's really easy to find me, you can just email me at
LCohen@ChiefOutsiders.com, or check out their website. Just a plug, if I may, Chief Outsiders is anational company of fractional CMOS. So, right now, my number when I joined at the end of the year was 97. There's about 110, going to grow to 150. And these CMOS, they're amazing. Every vertical, unbelievable experience. It's just awesome. It really is, and very collaborative group, we all work together to make everybody successful. So, it's real fun, and it's different than being what you call single shingle consultant. You're really part of an organization that makes you better and that's a ton of fun. I'm also on LinkedIn way more than I'm on Twitter, but my Twitter handle is @catstrat and I love to hear from anyone, always happy to talk, share ideas, mentor, etc.
Maria 39:30
That's amazing. All right. That's it for our episode today, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. What an amazing chat with Lori, thanks for being with us. Make sure you subscribe, share this episode, tell your friends and colleagues about it, and yeah, we'll see you in the next episode. Thanks everyone.
Gianna 39:46
Thanks, bye-bye.

Recycling and Marketing Brand Content with BlueVoyant’s Brittany Geronimo

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