Episode 13 'Choosing an Agency' Season 2

Published on October 4, 2022 by Alex Holliman

Choosing an Agency episode 13 out now.

In the latest episode, Alex welcomes Steve Richards and Ryan O’Keeffe, founders of a personal branding agency with an emotional intelligence edge – Jago®.

Ryan and Steve speak on the immense importance values, culture and purpose play when working with agencies, as well as how to use social proofing to check up on an agency. 

They also discuss pitching, red flags, and share amazing insights on how to communicate to resonate and attract the right people to you. 

Episode 13, series 2 transcript

Alex Holliman: Hello, and welcome to choosing an agency. My name is Alex, founder of search agency climbing trees. And I’m here to talk about how to get the right agency to grow your business. So today, I’m joined by the amazing Steve and Ryan from Jago. How you doing chaps.

Steve Richards: Yeah. Fantastic, Alex.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Really Well, thanks, Alex. Thanks for having us.

Alex Holliman: My pleasure. So for people that are just meeting me for the first time, could you share a little bit about who you guys are and what you do.

Steve Richards: We’re a personal branding agency, a B Corp, people first type people that really want to see business leaders. And people within corporates be able to determine their own reputation, to make sure that those talented people inside businesses are not hidden underneath brands. And we do that by going through a process of working on their personal development to understand who they are, what their strengths are, what they’re about understanding their emotional intelligence, and then developing a strategy for their personal brand, how, how they’re gonna win by stepping up and stepping out. And then we support them through storytelling, through written and video content, in order for them to master their own reputation with confidence and clarity.

Alex Holliman: Also, what’s your experience of the agency world challenge?

Ryan O’Keeffe: Oh, that’s a great question. My experiences have changed. I’ve worked in the corporate space previously, for most of my life, probably 20 years. And in 2014, I stepped out of that world and came into the agency world. And I think initially, I was pretty scared about that, because it was the unknown. I put some judgments in myself around not being creative, and maybe not fitting in. So my first experiences weren’t particularly ones that I enjoyed, because I felt a bit of an outsider, and didn’t know who was who didn’t know what agencies were good agencies didn’t know, there’s sort of the good from the bad if you like. But more recently, my experiences are actually they’re incredible Businesses, run by fascinating business leaders that come from all different walks of life. Not necessarily all technical and not, not all, necessarily experts in what they offer are what they are experts in is delivering quality and bringing in the best teams to provide that service. So we absolutely love working with agency owners. And so my experience, experiences of working with them has been absolutely fantastic, especially in the last couple of years when we get to work personally, with with the owners and founders and senior in teams of these businesses.

Alex Holliman: And something that I find really fascinating about agency leaders is there’s a large proportion that never worked in an agency before. And so what the vision of an agency can be isn’t necessarily always prescribed to buy what an agency always has been.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Absolutely, yeah, I mean, look, I set up an agency thinking I could do something similar to what I was doing in the corporate world. And then ended up making big mistake of messing about trying to tinker with different parts of the agency, rather than getting out and doing what I was good at, which was going to attracting people to do business with us. So that was a steep learning curve, you know, doing what I do best, which is building the relationships, but also then understanding that we need to bring the right people in to deliver the work. But initially, I made the mistake of thinking I had to be the technician. So you know, what I’ve seen from some of the most successful agencies that we work with, because they’re not necessarily the best people at what they do. And they’ve taken a realisation around that, actually, I can, I can be an expert in that I can understand what’s going to help their clients win. But actually, you know, understanding that they can bring better talent into that business to provide a superior service is where I see some of the best agencies winning.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely, I think you’re right. And I know from my own experience, for example, it’s a it’s quite a humbling experience or chastening experience in terms of bringing in staff that are better at you at the job than you ever were, and then just seeing them flourish and do like make, like significant strides forwards. When you’re not involved in that sort of technical delivery side of things.

Ryan O’Keeffe: 100% I’ll give you a live example of that. We were going to do one of our workshops at one of the biggest law firms in the world, certainly within this country, 3 billion pound turnover company called Clifford chance. And typically Steve and I would go and deliver that workshop. But you know, as the business has grown, we’ve realised that there’s certain people that can deliver that workshop or skill set better than we can or I can so we took a decision now Got to send me down there and actually use Steve and RG to deliver a quality experience for the user. Where, you know, in the early days, I’m, I might have felt the need to be president or to be at everything, you know, but as you grow a team, you have to realise that you don’t need to be everywhere. And you have to accept that some people are just better at you at delivering certain things. And that’s cool, because the whole business is gonna grow, the clients gonna get a better experience. And we can all celebrate in in adding value and having more impact with the work that we do because of that.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely. So what’s the sort of stuff that you guys get up to on a day to day basis,

Steve Richards: On a day to day business basis, we are working directly with business owners on their personal brands, whether that’s through a developmental phase to help them build an identity platform, understanding who they are what they could be known for, and then narrowing down to what they should be known for and distilling that into a personal brand position. And then the other part is supporting them and being able to find their voice use their voice, and put themselves out there in different guises that might be supporting them to prepare for podcasts, public speaking, getting in front of a camera to make their own original content, helping to co create short form written posts, in order to really be able to raise their visibility of them as a personal brand to shine the light on their business to raise the visibility of their business their brand, and build credibility in order to build more meaningful relationships, attract diverse talent and deepen that commercial opportunities.

Alex Holliman: Awesome. And then this is my favourite question. And I’m really looking forward to asking both of you. And so usually we just have once or guest on the podcast, so you’ve got four h. So to get a feel for who you are, if you invite four people past or present to a meal, who would they be?

Steve Richards: Okay, so the first one would be on my patrilineal side. So my father’s side, father’s lineage, I would want to meet one of my father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s five generations back because my grandfather was the first man to live beyond 52 years of age in my family, where I’m going to be turning 41 In a few months time. So it’s a sobering thought to think if I was three generations back, I’d only have 10 years left. And they were they were miners in north Wales. So they would have been working probably from around the age of eight. So I would love to spend time with some of my forefathers to understand more about my family history of what I’ve come from and to gain a greater appreciation of what they sacrificed in order for me to be where I am today. So that’s really well, yeah, that’d be one of them. Another one would be going way more generations back like 2700 years ago to Buddha Sakyamuni. So I would love to be there on vultures peak and Raj gear in India listening to the teachings that he was imparting within that time, I’ve actually practice that at a temple at that spot, but I’d love to be there 2750 years ago, when he was espousing the Lotus Sutra. Musically, I’d love to bring Bob Marley so you could like play some music and have some vibes and a jam and enjoy all of that. And then Ghandi because something that I’ve worked on over the years is control. I’m very impatient to control my temper. I’m naturally a very fiery guy, and it got me into some trouble when I was a young man. So I really would like to understand more around like nonviolent peaceful protest and a way how to handle conflict resolution, and to bring to bring change in a peaceful nonviolent way. So to sit down with Ghandi would be amazing. And he’s influenced a lot of people like your area, the first president of Tanzania and so many different people that I look up to. He’s influenced I’d love to go and spend time with him.

Alex Holliman: Awesome, I read a biography or autobiography, maybe it’s biography. I would always get confused between two about Ghandi. And I learned the word matriculation, which is about going to college and educating yourself. And I’ve never found the opportunity to drop it into a conversation until today. So, but as a collective of people, that’s amazing. What about you Ryan?

Ryan O’Keeffe: It’s a big question. But I always, I always tend to my family when I get asked these questions around people that I want to be around, and I would have to say, off the top of my head. Nanny Robins, who is my Burmese Italian, Nan, on my mom’s side, my mom’s mother. And I would also invite at the same time Marge O’Keefe, who’s my dad’s mom, who’s a widow in Ireland, who done a lot of good for the communities out there was well known. So I’d bring them to the table together, because I think they would get on really well, I think, from what I can remember, they’ve met once or twice and actually did get on really well. Nanny Robbins is definitely a Mother Teresa-esque type person, she touched your face, she would say how beautiful you were, she was always very generous, even though she didn’t have much money. And she would always manage to cook you up a storm with hardly anything in the cupboard. So, you know, to be able to inherit those those cultural habits and experiences and memories is something that I’d like to thank them for, and ask them more questions if they could join me at the table. So yeah, two Nans, who have now passed, for many, many years, I’d like to see them again. Who else, I’d probably like to invite Robert De Niro to the table. You know, I think he’s one of the best actors out there. And I just think he’s a someone I’d like to turn into as I get older. mean, in some of his movies is quite cool is quite calm. You wouldn’t want to mess with me solid. But you know, you could see him being a protector. And so I’d like to see myself if I was playing on stage as that type of character that he’s played in many of his roles. And then last but not least, my wife haven’t been out there in a long time, because of having three young children with hardly any support. So yeah, they’re my four.

Alex Holliman: Excellent. It’s interesting, it’s always interesting to hear people’s choices, is as one of my favourite questions in this whole sort of setup. So. So the main point of the podcast is to try and help clients select the right agencies and get the most from the agencies they’re working with. And so one thing that often crops up with agencies is, whether it’s a pitch or not, what advice would you give to clients, if they’re asking agencies to pitch

Ryan O’Keeffe: I can understand why some agencies feel like pitching can be a waste of time, but personally, it excites me. I like the idea of pitching ideas, and going down into the potential clients offices or, you know, space to present, who you are, and what vision you have for them. So, you know, we like building relationships, we like building trust. So I think as people me and Steve, certainly see that as an opportunity to win other people over. And because we’ve got a good track record of that, of building trust of convincing people that we’re the right people to work with. Yeah, I would definitely feel that pitching would be an advantage for us as an agency. So I would certainly recommend pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, because not only, you know, it’s not just about winning the work is what you learn through the process, collectively, together as a team coming together. That collaboration, that process of of, you know, process and coming up with something that you’re both or collectively proud of, to present, I think it’s a good learning curve. But you’ve got to be mindful, you’ve got to make sure you’re winning rather than losing through the pitches. So you know, needs to it needs to make business sense as well. Can’t keep pitching without winning.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that whole thing about, like drawing the team together to deliver their best selves, and then learning through the process, as well as an agency in terms of your service offering is really important as well.

Steve Richards: Yeah, of course, something to add to that as well Alex, which is if you want to win a pitch, invest in your emotional intelligence. So it’s like if I was advising like agency people on how they could up their chances of winning. Yeah, you do all of the standard stuff in terms of like your research and all of the rest of it and understanding who it is you’re pitching to and what they want. But if you’ve got highly effective emotional intelligence, if you work on your communication skills, your ability to influence through communication, active listening and building rapport, if you get those key pillars in place, then you’re more likely to win to win your pitch. And just on like a practical level, don’t make your slides more than 10 slides, and figure out who the oldest person is in the room that you’re pitching to make sure your font size is 50% of that age. If they’re 60, make it point size that and as little words as possible, start with something humorous, something relatable, do some research on who’s in the room and what’s going to connect with them. So if they’re, if you’ve like, don’t search them on the different channels. And if they’re into cycling, then start off the first slide with an image of, of cycling or something like that. So use everything at your disposal in order to build EQ, storytelling styles, to build rapport with your audience to win them over. On the flip side, if you’re if you’re not doing that, or you can’t do that you’re not willing to invest in that sack off the pitching productize what you offer, invest in your personal brand, invest in marketing, and let the people come to you rather than you going out pitching to them.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely. And I think that whole thing about there is a certain scale of opportunity that you will only get if you pitch. And so, you know, there’s, as an agency owner, there’s a juncture in terms of your approach, isn’t it? What that thing about the font size? I’ve never heard that before? Where’d that come from? Is that just

Steve Richards: I can’t even remember where I picked that up from, but I’ve been, like involved in pitches for years. And just generally in communications, less is more. So sometimes you see people like putting loads of like small font bullet points, and it’s overwhelming, you’ve got to remember that you’re doing executive level communications, most of the time when you’re pitching and you’ve got decision makers in the room. They don’t want detail, they want high level, a few words, imagery, and then your ability to communicate that in a succinct way. But what you do want at your disposal is you want like a dossier of drill down details. Because when it comes at the end of the pitch, and they fire their questions, that’s when if you’ve got like a financial director in the room, they’re gonna want to drill down into the numbers. So you need to make sure you’ve got your models of the numbers, you need, like details of project management, and timelines and timescales and all the rest of it. But you don’t want to show that in. In a high level, executive level pitch deck. It’s just like images and a few words, it’s more about building rapport inspiring, and communicating what the value is the value proposition of what it is that you’re pitching for.

Alex Holliman: And so in your marketplace in the personal branding space, are you pitching as a totally new service, one that clients haven’t necessarily had before? Or is this one where they’re maybe working with another supplier, and you’re looking to onboard and not happy with the service they get.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Usually, Alex, it’s a combination of what we’ve already offered what we already have to offer. So we have a roadmap, a pathway, to usually it’s a proposal based on that method that we know that works. But for some clients, especially the corporate clients that are nuanced in different ways, whether it be numbers, or people, different departments, they’ll want, they’ll want something more bespoke than that. So we have to take what we know and the components that we offer, and put it into a pitch. Yeah, and that will come with several options when it comes to the packages and the pricing. So we have to visualise that we have to visualise that pathway for not just one owner of a business or an agency, but maybe 10, senior managers. And that might be a staggered approach. So that’s where the sort of the challenges are for us to make sure that pitch feels right for them. So we have to listen to their demands, how busy they are, what capacity they’ve got in in each department, and you know how busy each individual is to make sure that you know what we’re pitching is going to is going to work for them, rather than taking up a load of time and resource away from their day job. So yeah, we have our base of components that we put together. And that’s simplified through the product ideation of that offering. But we use those components then in different ways to create more bespoke pitches for different requirements.

Alex Holliman: Perfect and then when something that’s important on is the sharing and exchange of information, the early earliest stages of relationship? What sort of qualification process do you think works best for the agency and for the client? So sharing stuff like, I know, it could be stuff like my budgets timescales, whether they’re speaking to other providers, all of that kind of information is out there.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Yeah, I mean, look, when we, when we speak to, I can only speak from our own personal experience at Jayco. When we speak to clients, at the moment, it tends to be because they’ve heard about us. They’re either coming through our personal brands, and reaching out to us via LinkedIn or sending us a DM. Or they’ve been recommended to us. So then when we speak to them, usually we’re the only people that they’ve spoken to about personal brand, because personal branding at the moment is something now people are actually addressing is a key component and a key component as part of their marketing strategy. A couple of years ago, it was kind of like, Yeah, I’ll give it a punch type thing. Now it’s like, no, this is a, this is a serious investment, we need to create a budget for it. So then, you know, when we asked the question, Who else you speaking to at the moment is still it’s only you guys. But I expect with some of the recent proposals and pictures that we’re putting out there, we might be the first people that they’re speaking to, they’ll then go and speak to other people just to flesh out and compare budgets, for example. That’s certainly what I would do if I was in that position to make sure that we’re reviewing what’s on the table and being a good stewardship of that budget. So we do that we asked them who they’re working with, we do a bit of due diligence on them to make sure that actually as a business, they’re going to be a good business for us to work with. We’re a B Corp. So we don’t want to work with any Tom, Dick and Harry, right, we want to make sure that this is a business that we can really help. And we’re going to be aligned to in terms of not just values, but actually, whether we believe in what they offer and how they do it and how they operate.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely, I think because what you guys are doing is almost creating an industry. Whereas for our business, this is something that’s been going on for 20 years or so. And so there’s this lots of established businesses doing it. And so it’s a very different scenario.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Yeah, well, you know, I know lots of agencies that have been set up, you know, and, you know, selling search marketing, selling, selling, you know, PPC and all of this. And, you know, you hear some real horror stories, right? This, I’m not going to name check them on this, this podcast, but, you know, huge businesses that are taking massive margins that are pulling the wool over client’s eyes by masking it as management fees, or whatever it might be. Is, is a no go for me. So, you know, when we get when we get agencies that are really transparent, that look after the clients, they’re the ones that are going to last, they’re the ones that are going to be in there for the long game. Right. So, you know, I think that’s the key is, is finding out, you know, who you’re working with as an agency, and no better way to do that, and then go and ask some of the clients and go and check out what people say about them online, go and look at what social proofing that they have.

Alex Holliman: Yeah, so do a bit of investigation, sort of looking under on it and kicking the tires sort of thing? Yeah, absolutely. So you’ve mentioned about being the big a B Corp. In terms of values, how important do you feel your values are to clients you’re connecting with?

Steve Richards: I think they’re fundamental because that’s what is integral to how you show up how you turn up how you interact this, like, we we always say that our cultural values are the benchmark of what to expect when working with us, we’re people first. We genuinely care about our own people and our own clients, their, their well being, we want them to succeed. We want to encourage them, we want to promote them, we want to support them. We think big, we’re big thinkers. We like to cast a big vision and then that cast back to where we are today and figure out the pathway in order to be able to achieve that. And which is incredibly exciting and energising we actively listen to people. That’s appreciative listening. It’s it’s not just listening, it’s hearing. It’s about being a facilitator. It’s about being able to facilitate meaningful, insightful conversations to make sure that we can serve our people to the best of our ability. And we make things happen, you know, we’ve got we’ve got to be very action oriented, action oriented. When we think big we listen, we will actually want to be doers. We want to be producers, we want to be achievers. And then the other thing is around authentic It’s like staying true to ourselves, and being able to add and be contributors, and that’s internally our own people adding to our culture, but also as being able to add something to to our clients, you know, in some sort of way, whether that’s like in a commercial way, whether that’s a personal way, whether that’s the experience they get is like having that thing where you feel like you’re building something in collaboration together, like genuinely working with each other to, to move forward and produce something that we can all be proud of. So for us, those values, they drivers, they’re enablers, they motivate us. And they make it very clear to the people that we call them Jago-nots or slack people that work for us, us, but also for our clients.

Alex Holliman: I’m jealous of Jago-nots. But climbing trees, I don’t know what we could call them branches, routes, and trails, I don’t know. So we haven’t yet got a any sort of nomenclature for that kind of thing. But I think in terms of values is exactly what you say, I feel, it is about the net through action and experience. And so it’s all very well having them listed nicely on the website, and that kind of stuff. But actually, you need to, like feel them to be true as a result of experiencing some time speaking to someone and having exchanged conversation with people and

Steve Richards: Love them, own them, live them. We love our cultural values, and we own them. And we we give our people licence to express it in the way that is authentic to them. And then live them, live them in your practice with each other within the business, and then externally with the people that you interact with. So people can go that’s a Jagonot or, or I’m part of the Jago community, I’m one of their clients. And, and that’s this about building community really, because culture is when to like three or more people share an idea, a concept of value and material objects. That’s what, that’s what culture is, it’s shared. So you need buy in, you need buy in from the people that work for the business and you need buy in from the clients, the people that are buying your products and services. When you get that it starts to expand. The more clients, the more employees you get, the more it evolves and develops and gets added to, particularly when you start attracting more diverse clients and more diverse staff. And that’s where it gets really exciting. But it also gets quite challenging. Because things can, things can evolve in different ways. And then you know, like any business or agency or whatever the more people’s This is, once it starts to multiply more issues can arise.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely. And what you can find happens through that growth trajectory is that you stray from the path in terms of values, and new people won’t necessarily know how to actually put those things into practice we’ve had, I’ve had two examples. One, there’s someone that’s been with us a sort of longer period of time. And someone that’s maybe a little bit newer in terms of handled situations. And so the new member of the team, made a mistake, in that moment was like a rabbit in the headlights and then tried to blame someone else. A more experienced member of the team week later made a mistake, we had accidentally spent 1000 pounds of our clients money on the wrong thing. And he came to me and said, I’ve messed up, I’ve done this is 1000 pounds. In the latter instance, I just sort of thought, he knows it’s a mistake, he’s owned it, he’s come to me with honesty and didn’t try to hide it away, was also out, that’s fine. In the former instance, I was faced with a situation where what I had to do is almost call that out. And so we don’t do that here. We are a team. If a problem has happened on your desk, that’s where it stops. There’s no sort of sliding over to someone else. And that’s not what we do here. And people that do that. That might work at other companies and other cultures, but people that do that tend to get on too well here and then since been addressed and there’s no problems and making mistakes is clearly a thing to say but it’s a good thing because you get to see how people respond to them.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Yes, the reactions right to be measured. I think. Love that Alex I think for us when we agreed on our values. It set it set the bar, they set the set the expectation As we lay the foundations down to the expectations of ourselves as leaders, and of each other, Steve and I, but also for all the people that come into this business, because, you know, when it comes to those one to one reviews, when it comes to those quarterly appraisals, yearly yearly reviews, how do you measure behaviour, if you haven’t got a solid set of values that you will adhere to and commit to. So it’s a commitment, it’s almost like a contract that you sign up to, if you’re going to work for this business. This is what we expect from you. And you don’t have to be perfect to all of them, but you have to be working towards them. You have to be working towards things. So it’s okay to make mistakes. But let’s learn and let’s evolve. And there was a saying that came out during the pandemic, which is the pandemic didn’t expose the house that you lived in, exposed the foundations that it was built upon. And I’m telling you now, if we didn’t have those values within our business, it would have been a real hard slog, a real stressful place, a real toxic environment between Steve and I and the business through those tough times. And we wouldn’t have been where we are today. But because we had those values, and the cue to go with that to take a gap, a breather, some space to say, hang about, is this actually aligned to our values? Or is this me? Is this me throwing my toys out the pram, which is going to cause disruption, arguments, ill feeling within the team. So the values are the foundation to everything you can build solid, big businesses upon them and can go far.

Alex Holliman: So in terms of the selection criteria for clients, how do you think purpose fits into that? So purpose is something that builds upon the values, isn’t it, it’s almost a thing that’s beyond those values.

Steve Richards: Here’s the thing, Alex, everyone’s got a purpose. We’re all here for a reason, we just don’t know it yet. Some of us and some others do. That’s it. So you can come to Jago. And you can have your purpose and you can understand your purpose. And we can help you to live your your life walk your path, according to that purpose. Other people come to us and they don’t know what it is, and we can help you figure out what your purpose is. So you know, there’s a reason why we’re here. It’s just sometimes we, we’ve either forgotten what that is, or because of the circumstances of life, it’s been squeezed out of us because of, you know, the influences that we’ve had through our families. Like, I mean, think about it, how many people do you know that have gone on to have further education or careers, because that’s what their parents wanted them to be, they didn’t want to be like an accountant, or, or a doctor or a teacher or something like that. But a lot of people have been forced down that road. So how society is is a lot of us have been almost denied the opportunity to explore our purpose. And when we say our purpose, really what that means is, why am I here? And where am I going? And I think that’s because a lot of people don’t necessarily understand what their commercial value is. Yeah, and the commercial value is in what they’re really good at. But if I was to ask you your ad, it’s what are you good at? It’s an embarrassing question to answer. It’s like, oh, I don’t want to seem like arrogant or egotistical, or, I don’t even know what I’m good at. Because I’m not sure I’ve never been given this space to really explore that. So that’s what we do, man, it doesn’t matter if you’re, we’re not like this exclusive club where it’s like, you can only join us if you’re a B Corp. Or if you’re like a person, everyone’s got an opportunity to live out their purpose and find that purpose. And the more people that do that. And we believe that we will have stronger and more fruitful communities, whether that’s in the business community or our local communities. And that’s where we can have real significant impact. Because people are going to feel more fulfilled and better well being it’s like, if you feel you’re doing what you’re here to do on this planet. I mean, that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Because that’s where you arrive at a place of peace and joy. So this is what I’m really here to do. I’m using my gifts and talents. I’m serving myself better that way. I’m serving other people better that way. I’m in my element. Life is good. And that’s when it’s not. Everything becomes more enjoyable and it’s not really a chore even in those moments where it’s like it’s hard going it’s a slog. It like what Ryan was saying about the foundation of value is like purpose is another foundational pillar, which can give you a more fulfilling life, in business and outside of business.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely. And it is that thing that you’ve said that purpose almost allows you to create, to sort of create the best version of yourself. And then that vision of where you could go in the future, it’s almost pulls you through all the sort of ups and downs, but life console authority. Yeah, continuous

Steve Richards: Work, continuous work of process. So like, I’m not the best version of myself, I don’t know, I don’t even know what the best version of myself means. I’m just a humble man trying to do the best that I can. And I, by the way, like, I chip up and Chip myself up all the time, because we’ve got these shortcomings, right, that’s just all of us as human beings. So there’s mistakes I make as a business leader, there’s mistakes I make as a father, etcetera, etcetera. So, I’m not necessarily trying to get to a particular pinnacle, what, like a benchmark, I’m more what I’m trying to do on an individual level is say, Do I have clarity about what I’m really good at, like what my gifts and talents are, and then my waist in them or not? We were like, Ryan and I are into like football, and boxing and sports and stuff like that. And you can look at their teams, we support the boxes, we feel, they can have all of the potential and talent and skills, but they’re like wasted talent, you know, I mean, because of maybe it’s to do with the mindset, or maybe it’s to do with the lack of guidance, or the lack of familial support, or whatever it is. So really, it’s kind of like, how can we understand what our potential is? And how can we realise that? And what role does purpose play in that? Because, really, if people are going, I don’t know what my purpose is, where we should look at is, where are my strengths? Where are my gifts and talents? And then am I using them just exactly what Ryan said at the top of this show. So me and him realise the things that we’ve been doing in the business, that we’re not the best at doing that somebody else can do better than us, that’s a recognition of a lack of strength in that certain area, we might be able to do it good enough to deliver quality. But if somebody else can thrive within the team, or we can hire someone to come in, and fulfil their potential, and develop that potential and feel a sense of purpose doing it, that’s our role as leaders to facilitate that. And it’s the same with the clients on on their journey, it’s our role to help them arrive at a place where they feel like I’m positioned correctly in order to maximise my value to the market.

Alex Holliman: So here’s a question for you is this something that this is something that I’m thinking about how, as an agency, how’s the best way to say no to a client that isn’t aligned with your values? So it’s historically in the early stages of the business, I was focused on keeping the lights on, making payroll. And so if you had a pound note, I’d have welcomed you in and we’ll work together, we’re trying to evolve those processes to make sure that we can sort of fulfil our ambition to have a more positive impact out there in the world. And so how can you say no to clients without? Because sometimes I feel like you can be quite, not offensive, because that set of people does that mean, there can be fear of those awkward conversations?

Ryan O’Keeffe: It’s a great question, and one that we’ve been through? Before I answer the question directly, I think there’s something that can come before that, which is influencing more of the right type of people to approach you. So you can say less nose? Right? So if you put yourself out there, through your personal brand, through the company brand, and you express and show your beliefs and values and culture, then guess what, you’ll probably attract the right type of prospects, and in turn, will have to say no, less frequently. Absolutely. Fewer times. Yeah, that makes you at times. So put yourself out there and connect on a deeper level with the right audience. Therefore, you can say yes, rather than No. But if in the odd occasion, you do have to say no, then, for me, it’s a no, it’s a simple, don’t think we’re quite aligned with this. And we’re probably not the right people. But here’s a recommendation of a few other people that might be a good fit for you. That’s kind of how I would do it always. might support them, I’d always I’d always try and connect them with with maybe another supplier or another agency. And I’d make sure that we do in a real humble and sincere way, right. And it’s, it’s one of those things, we have to be mindful not to be judgmental, because, you know, everyone’s on their own journey. And depending on where they are, within their business and where they are personally, they might not, they might not have had the opportunity to meet, you know, purpose driven businesses, they might not have had the opportunity to have those conversations on the regular. So it’s our jobs as, as, as purpose driven leaders and B corps to have a positive influence, and to express ourselves and to educate, and to have that conversation. So I’d always be open to a conversation with anyone, first of all, it wouldn’t be, you know, straight no. If then by having that conversation, we knew that they were just completely disconnected with who we were as a business, and they will all they cared about was making money through selling weapons for war. As an example, we would say no to that, we would say no to that, because it doesn’t align to us. So, you know, we have to take, take a judgement call on on who we work with. And, you know, there’s a series of things that we can use, you know, screening process, a few things that, you know, they would need to conform to. Yeah,

Alex Holliman: That makes sense. Makes sense. And so, are there any other sort of red flags that you feel a client should look out for when selecting an agency?

Ryan O’Keeffe: I guess, for me social proofing, right? I’d go and check them out and see how they’re engaging with their audience. See the conversations, the comments that they’re responding to how they operate, right? Because I’m going to pick up on not how they speak to me, but how they are to everyone that they interact with what, what consistent themes can I see? For me, it’s, it’s about people, you know, so doesn’t matter how good the brand is, if we don’t connect with the people that we’re going to be working with, then it’s going to be a non-starter. So the red flags for me is inconsistency in behaviour and comments. Yeah, because for me, that means you’re, you’re changing how you turn up to different people, which could cause problematic relationship. Negative reviews, yeah, lack of social proofing. And the types of conversations that I have with them, I think you’ll get a sense and a vibe of of how they communicate and how they present themselves. So that’s kind of the red flags that I would be looking out for initially. And then when you get further down the line, you would want case studies, you would want proof, you’d want to do some due diligence. You know, we look at people’s accounts and backgrounds to see how well they’re set up to make sure that they’re financially stable, all of those sort of basic hygiene factors that we would want to look into when when transacting with the business.

Alex Holliman: So we’re coming to the end, what are some of the coolest things that you’ve ever done on the pitch with the client,

Steve Richards: We like to use poetry. So we’re big fans of poetry. And actually, rhyme and rhythm helps increase processing fluency. So I think it’s it’s night and it’s not to be blatant like to go up there and go, right, I’m about to perform a poem for you or anything like that. But it’s using poetic language and how we communicate in order to be able to make sure that you get Sonic resonance, ie, there’s a phonological loop that if you say something, or use certain words, which have a rhythm, it bounces around in the phonological loop longer, in order to be able to resonate and retain information. That’s why you get certain brands, like Coca Cola has got a rhythm that that brand. Blackberry, those brands, like it actually bounces around in the phonological loop longer. So there’s things you can do with, with your pitches and how you arrange your words to make it more like a performance that without it feeling like a performance, but they’re like, Wow, this is really connected with me. And you can do that through visual storytelling, as well like the type of imagery that you use or the video content in order to trigger. So if you start with a story, humour, anecdote, analogy, metaphor, something like that, and then you end with one. It becomes very impactful.

Alex Holliman: Interesting. I’ve made a mental note to myself to go and explore phonological loops

Steve Richards: And Sonic resonance because there was studies where they, they split two as an academic study where they split two groups up and they gave them different sayings. And they had like, the sayings, which rhymes which was in their original form. And then they had the same sayings, but they didn’t rhyme. And then afterwards, they asked both groups, which, which scenes Do they feel held more truth. And the ones that rained that group, they all scored it higher.

Alex Holliman: What a thing.

Steve Richards: So it’s worth it’s worth incorporating that if you want to be if you want to connect, resonate, be more memorable and more believable, then incorporate it and I don’t mean just like basic childlike A B, rhyme patterns where you just like the last word rhymes on each line. It’s to do with like, the, the arrangement of the words and how they they flow. So like Blackberry, Coca Cola, sawn in like those brands, they don’t necessarily rhyme but they’ve got rhythm. So it’s looking for patterns within syllables. And then the other thing to do is switch up the punchiness. So you could say like, dream it, believe it become it. They’re like, two word sentences. And then you can do two sentences, then you can make it a short sentence again, then you can do three sentences. So it’s like, figuring out how you arrange your words to create different rhythm patterns. And it creates, it’s so much more engaging. So voice like words, and then it’s voice, your cadence, how you deliver it, and then movement. And then how you clash those three together words voice movement, and when you put them all together and then you’re it’s accompanied with some visuals. That’s how you’re going to get a more compelling, impactful, engaging pitch presentation or just any communications whether you’re doing any storytelling really if you’re on stage or in a podcast or video.

Alex Holliman: Awesome

Ryan O’Keeffe: To make it entertaining. We all remember the the Levi roots pitch in the Dragon’s Den, singing his song, playing his guitar, selling his reggae reggae sauce. And we knew where he ended up absolute multimillion dollar business when in the pitch with massive investment. So I think the principal our principle is, is make it entertaining, make it memorable. Use music, use poetry, use the arts, whatever you need to do, or go over and above what they’ve requested. Like you did Alex where you know, you was asked to do a formal proposal and writing but over and above that you sent in a video.

Alex Holliman: Absolutely amazing. I need to dust off my ukulele now. Love it. Perfect. guys. Thanks so much for coming on today. It’s been really great. Where can people find out more about you?

Steve Richards: So you can find out at Www.weareJago.com. So that’s WeAreJago.com. Also look for Ryan O’Keefe. That’s the surname is O apostrophe, K double E double F E and Steve Richards on LinkedIn. So you can find us on there. Connect with us, and it’d be great to find out more about your story.

Alex Holliman: Awesome. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

Ryan O’Keeffe: Thanks for having us, Alex. Cheers, mate.

Listen to it now on https://www.alexholliman.com/ or your usual podcast streaming platform.