Interview w/ Stæven Frey

February 16, 2021

Stæven Frey is the principal and Senior Brand Strategist at Quantum Branding, a strategy-focused branding agency based in Nashville, TN. In this episode, Stæven walks us through the memory structures that make people recognize and remember brands.

In our conversation, we chat about building your agency's core offering, how to price based on your client's revenue, and how to overcome the fear of turning away bad clients.

Contact Stæven Frey

Quantum Branding Agency


The Brandometry Group


Ed Orozco (00:00:01):

Welcome everyone. To another episode of Growing Design. Today, we have Stephen Frey and we're going to be talking about brand science, pricing and some other stuff to help you sell better and better understand how a brand has an impact in the way you create assets for your clients and you create value for their business. Stephen, do you mind introducing yourself for the audience?

Stæven Frey (00:00:24):

Sure thing. Sure thing, everybody. My name is Stephen Fry. I am a senior level brand strategist designer, and I say brand scientist as my agency forays into the evidence-based metrics of how brands grow and sell using a brand science. So as a practitioner of scientific based metrics I St my brain scientists.

Ed Orozco (00:00:49):

That sounds pretty, pretty interesting. So correct me if I'm wrong, brand science T it's a combination of multiple disciplines and it sort of absorbs information from, from different practice and disciplines to create these sort of like experiences that are holistic in the sense that the brand is supposed to permeate every single touch point that your customer has with your, with your organization. So can you tell us a bit about how do you like combine different disciplines into the brand science practice?

Stæven Frey (00:01:26):

Sure. So the, the ease, there's an easy answer and there's a complicated answer. The easy answer is that marketing, we have to just start with a functional overview of how things work and what things do. And so marketing is just a functional, like, just understanding of marketing is that you don't make cars that don't make cell phones. This isn't the days of bartering, wheels of cheese and, and, you know, geese and bread. We don't barter. And there's not one person that does something with a sandwich board outside our town. There's multiple places that we can get stuff. So we live in an advanced society. So you don't make cell phones. I don't make cars. Who do I know whom to buy marketing literally is functionally saying, Hey, do business with me, buy for me. Here's my proverbial proverbial sandwich board do business with me, but the problem is we travel a lot farther than our towns and we can buy things online.

Stæven Frey (00:02:22):

So that changes our sandwich boards. So if marketing is say to, Hey, do business with me, how do we address all the complications that occur? So branding is a monic tool memories within marketing. So there can be marketing science out there, and there is, but then branding science is all about that. The moniker tool and saying, how do we understand it? How do we utilize it? How do we measure it? How do we make sure that it's functional? How do we understand that it's working? So at the end of the day, branding is utilizing memory structures in your head. And psychologically, we'd like to think that we've advanced in every year. There's new branding. You know, you know, StoryBrand brand this brand that, and there's these new kind of thought leaders, but a lot of that stuff is anecdotal. It's not based on science. So at the end of the day, if we want to understand how memory structures work, brand science, the science of granting, we have to then dive into what are the psychological factors and tools being used.

Stæven Frey (00:03:29):

So if I said name something that is wiped in your fridge, everyone says milk. And I say, well in the door, okay, it's still milk. That's a condiment. Okay. Mayo, that's a vegetable horseradish. So that's semiotics. Semiotics is the, the, the library of, it's almost like, you know, the final four, you know, chart that gets broken down all the way down, you know, till we have the final winner, semiotics is how we organize stuff. And so there's some things that marketing it sounds really great, but then when you throw it against the wall the noodle doesn't stick, it's not authentic. And so some of these things are not founded. They're not proven great example would be colored theory. You're like, Oh ed, tell me what the color yellow means. And I don't know, what would you think the color yellow means in branding?

Stæven Frey (00:04:23):

What, what's, what's a quick five second answer to yellow energy sports. Okay. But now in dental and dental, yellow, isn't good. Yellow means stained dirty teeth. So all of a sudden all these things that people are peddling out there don't work because that's not how the mind works and that's not how we organized. So there's a lot of things that are how we organize thoughts and memory structures are, can be associated into sensory categories. So words shapes color colorized use of those words in shapes would still be in color elements of story from an illustration style of the red, the, you know, the red bull ad, you see that, you know exactly that's a red bull ad to, you know, the old, if anybody's old enough to remember this the old iPhone or, yeah, I think it's the iPhone or iPad or iPod.

Stæven Frey (00:05:22):

There it is iPod ads with the silhouette. And you could see the little white, the most distinctive characteristic about it was that it was little white earbuds in a cord. And immediately those white ear buds and accord became a status symbol to mean anything. It didn't mean that it was special that you were different, that you were magic kind of customer to mean anything about the rent, other than it was just a distinctive asset that people noticed. So he said, ah, let's use this in our ads. So then there was all the colors, the civil, or the people dancing doesn't matter what color you were. It didn't matter what color the background was. It mattered that the iPhone, the iPhone, the earphones, yeah. That product, obviously not memorable enough in my mind since I work in the sentence. So yeah, that is, that is, that is old.

Stæven Frey (00:06:08):

So we've got everything from illustration style to components like the earbuds to an actual story itself. And that's where, where we can kind of play with archetypes. That's a conversation for another day. We've got sound, you've got music. You've got people, whether that's characters you've celebrities, spokespeople, I'm Tom Bowden. I'll leave the light on for ya. That's, you know, for motel six here in America, so you've got the sound of his voice. And then you've got the little S the song that goes in the background, Dean, you know, so, you know, it's a motel six commercial right away. You've got the guy's name, you've got the guy's voice and we'll leave the light on for you tagline. That little commercial has four immediate bland assets. And then most likely it makes you think of the brand Mark and then the colors.

Stæven Frey (00:07:02):

So those are those sensory category assets. And those seven categories are how we measure the distinctive brand assets. And so those are the most important assets, because at the end of the day, science says that the brand with the most physical availability and mental availability is the brand that grows. So it's gotta be top of mind, but it's also gotta be visually everywhere. You've got to nag your customers and seen as unsold. If they don't see you, they can't buy you. So since that's like the number one principle, so nag notice, attract and get, they got to notice it, they got to be attracted to it. They got to get it. They got to be seen like, Oh, this is, you know, I need some kitten food that go down the aisle. Oh, they see a little icon in the corner kitten, Oh, kitten zero to three months.

Stæven Frey (00:07:51):

Oh, this is kitten food. They notice it they're attracted to it. Oh, it's cute. Oh, it's got good ingredients on the side that look healthy. You know, I read it and then I literally get what it is. And then I pick it up and I put it in my cart. I get what it is. And that philosophy of nag works in every category. So unseen is unsold. So you gotta buy it, but you can't buy it if you don't see it. And if you don't see it, you're not going to notice it to begin with. So a lot of the brand science aspects are really kind of I want to say like common sense, you know, is, is, is, but, but when we break them down, they are distinctive areas of science that we put together to understand them all.

Ed Orozco (00:08:36):

Is this what they call secondly fires in the brand. So like the little, very distinct pieces in a, in a, in a brand that you can take them out of context and they will steal, evoke a certain memory.

Stæven Frey (00:08:52):

Sure. So at, you know, I would, signifier would be a non traditionally used term. You're not going to find that used very much the, the, the most professional nomenclature for that would be distinctive brand asset. And I always like to share with folks the illustration of cookies. Do you have a favorite cookie? What's your favorite cookie? Oreo. Okay. We got some Oreo fans in the house here. So Oreo is super fun. We have the blue packaging. We have the, the tray that it comes in. Ooh, we have the new peel and sticky lid. And then we have the varieties and the colors that there's different ones out, out there. There's lemon ones. Those are super good. And then you have the Oreo brand Mark itself. You have the color of the cookie itself. And then you have the story element of the dunking in the milk.

Stæven Frey (00:09:43):

If I showed a commercial of me dunking a cookie and a milk, and it was a sandwich cookie, it would still evoke distinctive memory structure about, Oh, that's an Oreo. So same thing with Snickers. I'm not going to start a new candy bar about, you know, it's a great candy bar to eat while you're hungry. No, you don't want to do that because why Snickers has spent so much time associating themselves with this is the candy bar you eat when you're hungry, because why it fills it up, it fills you up. Somebody probably ate too much new get one day and they're like, Oh man, I'm so full. I'm not hungry anymore. And someone's like, ah, that's it. You know, so there are certain things that are associated with a brand that are distinctive memory structures, and then there's some that are shared.

Stæven Frey (00:10:29):

So if I talk about Starbucks and we're coming back to the cookies, hang on everyone. So if I talk about Starbucks, I'm talking about, you know, all the assets that we associate with that brand, you know, the term barista that was coined by them, Frappaccino you know, you've got some of your products that they're the names, you know, Kenya blend and some of their proprietary blends, but they also share, you know that bean to table story. And that's a, that's a shared asset. That's a shared that's not a distinctive memory structure. That's a shared memory structured. And so you have to operate within a ball diamond. So back to our cookies, when you're shopping down the cookie aisle, you're looking for your Oreos, you see a variety of two things. It's like a ball diamond, you see customer cues, and then you see category industry cues.

Stæven Frey (00:11:24):

So customer cues are like ingredients. What is it made of pictures of what it is to understand what it is? The name itself, does it make sense to me if I see scribbly scribbly, scribbly, scribbly, that doesn't make sense in the cookie aisle may make sense in a designer shoe brand, because I may be like, Oh, that's, you know, a famous person's signature who I should recognize, but it's not functional. It's not a customer cue to the category. So some things are just functional that customers need to, is this, is it the age, you know, is this senior? Is this adult for my pets, but in the cookie aisle, we're going to see predominantly ingredients, pictures of food. We're going to see, you know things that are specific that I'm going to look for. Oh, this is, you know, gluten-free this has oatmeal.

Stæven Frey (00:12:10):

This has nuts. Some of our packaging has evolved kind of like the automobile industry. You know, we're hard on like us stupid politically correct packaging. No, that's actually really helpful because if you're allergic to peanuts, you need to know that there was a time when we didn't know that. And so just like the auto industry we learned, we've studied it. Our standards have changed. So is that with packaging and truth and honesty and ingredients? Well, then we have the category side of things that, okay, cheaper stuff is shrink, wrapped, like are sugar wafers, a medium kind of category cookies, come in a tray that slide out the higher end above that. Now have the peel and stick. And that's something that Oreo has fought for to make that like their thing. So you've got, there's Nabisco based brands that have that. And then you have your higher end stuff.

Stæven Frey (00:12:54):

That's in vertical bags, Pepperidge farms, Tates. And they come in these fancy little, you know, parchment cups. They weren't baked in there. They put them in their post-facto to make it look fancy. So you think you're buying a premiere product. So we literally have top shelf when stuff is top shelf it's eye level. That means it's, it's a higher price point by the grocer. So that's where we get that term cup shelf. But literally we've got just the, the, how does the industry do it? And then the customer cues that they're looking for. So when I walked down that aisle, I'm looking for Oreos. There's a whole bunch of Oreos. They utilize color blocking. I can see that they're all Oreos, but I'm noticing that I'm looking for a distinctive Oreo, and that may be the double stuff or the lemon cake or the birthday cake or a distinctive within that one.

Stæven Frey (00:13:45):

So then it literally becomes, it's like the ball diamond. Now the competition is in the outfield. Where do I hit the ball to somebody already have a gluten-free non-fat white chocolate, cranberry macadamia nut cookie. No, they don't there's room in this market, maybe for non-fat gluten-free cookies. Now, anybody who cooks notice it knows that that that's going to be a really dry crispy crumbly cookie. You might as well just sell flour, that's flavored flour. But if you could create a cookie that was palatable, that was super boys that was enjoyable. And they're gluten free. Now, all of a sudden that positioning of what it is, it's not a secret way to Ninja the customer. It just tells me, Oh, this is gluten-free. This is what chocolate macadamia nut. Oh, this is in a vertical pouch. And it's all organic. So positioning becomes literally hitting the ball where your competition isn't.

Stæven Frey (00:14:43):

If I went out and tried to create a cookie company, and I did everything just like Oreo did with a blue pack, you know, red in the corner, that's Nabisco national biscuit company. If I did that, it would be very hard for me to sell my cookie. Why? Because it's operating too close to, to memory structures that look like someone else's and that's not good. So you want to have distinctive sensory assets that are slightly distinct, not different because we're in the cookie aisle. If this was a different cookie, it would be cake. It would be pie. It would be crackers, or it would be chips. And so differentiation doesn't fast, but effective branding does. And so effective branding is, you know, think to another category, move over. And I'll depending on your supermarket and the toilet paper aisle one rule of Grande science is that all brands within a category operate like near knockoffs of each other, you know toilet paper.

Stæven Frey (00:15:42):

It's usually in a clear package. So you can see what's inside. There's usually a band around so that there's a visual merchandising display for the information you have to read. There's bad math in the corner about how 12 rules plus 36 rolls equals 970 rolls. I don't know how they come up with this math. There's a soft, fuzzy baby animal. I don't know how bears, I guess bears are soft. I think it's okay to talk about bears pooping in the woods, because I think literally there's the, if a bear poops in the woods. So I think that's why Sharman has bears. That's the only reason. Cause someone's like, Hey, for bear poops in the woods, run with it. And that's okay to talk about that, but I've seen ducks. I've seen rabbits. I've seen old ladies quilting cause apparently that's soft. My mom's a quilter.

Stæven Frey (00:16:24):

I don't want to use any of her old quilts. That would be horrible. So, so brands operate like your knockoffs with one another, but there's these tiny distinctive choices that they make to say that, ah, blue is soft. Red is strong, yellow is economy. You know, so distinctiveness just means slightly different and unique to us so that it can be one of those triggers. And literally it's like, if you've ever seen the movie inception, it's like, we're planting this unique memory and we're getting the heck out of Dodge, but then we need to total recall and refresh it. So it's like inception meets total recall. So we want to build those distinctive brand assets and then we want to refresh them and keep using them. And so they become assets like, like Bob Ross, he's like, Oh, I'm going to paint a happy little tree here.

Stæven Frey (00:17:18):

This is his palette is distinctive asset palette. Oh, I need a new ad. That's going to go out. What can I use? Well, I can take some of my color. I can take some of my stories, some of my photography, some of my characters, and you're drawing from those assets and using them and the average brand, typical in the us two to three assets, they usually have one color that our brand Mark, maybe a tagline. The average brand that I work with, we get them up to nine to 14 brand assets. So if you had nine to 14 different colors could you paint a more vivid picture that people would appreciate, or if you had nine to 14 things on a menu, this is probably a better metaphor. When you be able to find something that's going to help you accomplish, you know what you're feeling for that day.

Stæven Frey (00:18:07):

There's 14 things on a menu and you're hungry. There's a better chance you're gonna, you're gonna fulfill your hunger that way. And we're not talking about Snickers anymore. Now we're just talking about being hungry in general. But so hopefully that paints a little portrait of how distinctive brand assets come to play. And, you know, I talk about the cookie metaphor all the time because there's things don't happen in a vacuum. And so I can look on my bookshelf and there's about 10 books that I have purchased to say that, you know, I've read them. But unfortunately they all also occur in a vacuum. And I don't want to name some of those authors because that's not the point. But the, the point is that we cannot continue to use anecdotal superfluous marketing advice from people who work outside the industry.

Stæven Frey (00:18:56):

But rather we need people who have marketing advice. And, and in fact, in fact, evidence based supported advice on how to grow and sell our customers and in the agency world, that's all it's about, you know we, we don't, we want to talk about passion. We want to talk about, you know, doing what you're made to do, but at the end of the day, if a customer comes to you, they're coming to you saying, this is where my brand is at. This is where my brand is at. And this is where my brain wants to go. Can you help me get there? And that's our job. And we, and that actually talks about we've got some other things we talked about earlier, you know, when you talk about, it's like, sorry, folks. He it's like the late night show. It's like, how do they know it's a talk about, well, they actually prepped to the guy before the call. So so I know that's like a great segue to talk about pricing later on is, you know, you want to get your clients somewhere and we'll, how do you pitch to them when you pitch to them, according to the speed that you want to get them there and they're willing to pay.

Ed Orozco (00:20:02):

I have a clue, a quick question, and maybe we can touch upon this before jumping over to the other stuff. You mentioned the distinctive brand assets and you provide, you know, 10 or maybe more of them. My question is I know that memory works through association and there's two, the two fastest way to implant a memory or like to incept a memory or in sector. Yeah. And a memory is one is a three motion. So engage in something that's very emotional. We tend to, to remember things that are, that are very emotional and that engage a lot of our senses. So, you know, very sad things, very happy things that shocked us or just scared us. And the other way is through repetition. So is, is that like, do you guys think in terms of, because I'm also trying to think in terms of like UX, if we're doing, if you're doing branding for a UX agency, you cannot really sell too much of the visual stuff because while you're trying to sell is the capacity to create an experience. Sure. And that's the, that's the pitch that they're going to deliver to their clients. So can you engage older distinctive brand assets beyond the visual? Palacha like to engage other senses.

Stæven Frey (00:21:29):

Sure. So you actually asked a really good trick question. So no, how I mentioned archetype was in that, that story category archetype can play a part. But, but there's actually no science for archetypes. And, and I'll use this as an example, brand attributes. There's no science, there's no evidence out there that says brand attributes. If I focus on my five top five brand attributes that my brand is guiding next door you know, quirky, cat, dad, coffee, drinking, but serious about his job. Well, I just probably described myself. But those brand attributes, they're great as a filter. If I'm like saying like, Hey, how does my brand walk and talk so that I can be consistent, but unfortunately the data comes back. And there's two things. One, there's no such thing as your, your customer avatar, the way that it's traditionally teach taught today.

Stæven Frey (00:22:36):

There is no such thing as a traditional customer avatar, unless it's focused on your product and what problems your product helps address. So a great example is this is oftentimes I'll work with an agency and they'll tell me, this is our customer. Our customer is Chloe. She's 27. She's from she's from Chicago. She loves Pinterest, the color, teal chevrons, French Bulldogs shops at whole foods. And they give me this whole list of things. But unfortunately the data comes back that, that there, that Chloe doesn't exist. And neither does her cute bulldog, but somebody else has a cute puppy. And so what we find is that it's not about the customer, it's about the frequency of the purchase. And so the only things that we can actually attempt to address are, okay, how do we increase our sales? Now, most folks like to address, ah, that's my 20% of my customers provides 80% of me profit. And unfortunately science comes back and says that, sorry, even your heaviest buyers at most are giving you 26% of your profit. And so what's, that's really ironic. There's industries like

Stæven Frey (00:23:46):

Banks who are made and by, you know, selling and buying banks by the heaviest buyers is sorts of basically like the person with the home loan, the auto loan and the, you know, the wealth management. They try to get those people with all the services. So they're focusing on this tiny little niche and it's like, you know, diminishing marginal utility, the more lemonade you drink, the less lemonade you want to drink. It just functionally doesn't happen in the more hot dogs you eat, the less hot dogs you want to eat. You just can't, there's a maximization point that occurs. The same thing happens with loyalty programs, loyalty programs, conversation for another day, they don't work. They're not in, they're not effective. The only way loyalty program can be effective. If, if I went in my competitor store and gave like, put up signs for my loyalty program in your store.

Stæven Frey (00:24:33):

So that's probably not good practice and I'd get booted. So that's those don't work. So what we do know is that there's sporadic light, mild, medium, moderate, and heavy. I was drinking this this bad boy earlier, and you know, who makes this this carbonated beverage you would know that this company actually, they're a worldwide company. If you buy two or more, you're a heavy customer. So what does that say? The majority of their wealth is made from sporadic, random light and mild and moderate, which to them is just one, one purchase. Why? Because there's that many people, that's all they need. And the markup on this is like exorbitant. Like they probably cost them less than 3 cents or 2 cents to make. So, so the markup on it and the sales cycle. So, so all of a sudden our avatar is just completely out of whack because it's not based on our person.

Stæven Frey (00:25:28):

And so is our sale. So how do we address those sales? So we talked about brand attributes. Well, brand attributes is not a way to sell a brand attribute is just a way that you dress up. If you go to a black tie affair, you should walk and talk like you're in a tuxedo, but are you in a black tuxedo, like the waiter, or are you in a white tie? Like the person that's attending the event. So, so even there's distinctions within distinctions. And so when we talk about emotions, we have this idea that we think that brands are tied to emotions and emotions are a way to drive. Unfortunately it comes back and I said, this is a trick question. Why? Because at the end of the day, people may have an experience that may include the brand that it, but at the end of the day, unless it's like the movie E T where originally they had you know, I think it was speed. I'm going to get slaughtered on the comments on this post is Spielberg for, for ITI. You know first reached out to m&ms and, and I was like, no, we can't use this in the movie. So they landed on Reese's pieces. I'm sorry. It's not Reeses PCs. It's Reese's pieces. And why was that such a big deal? Because the Reese's pieces were pivotal to how he got the alien. She got the alien drew Barrymore got the alien out of the closet. That's why that brand was memorable because it was pivotal.

Stæven Frey (00:26:59):

When was the last, but that's a movie that's not real life. When was the last time you were like, Oh, Disani you saved my life and you have a memory about Disani and now you

Stæven Frey (00:27:09):

All of them. No. So unfortunately it's great to have a positive experience that can reinforce but that's just one of those in the qualitative and the quantitative, it's a qualitative loop, but it's not the main thing you're brand assets in branding is the linchpin, but there's all these little spokes that go out and, you know, can you drive your truck with a ding on the fender? Yes. So you had a bad review. That's a ding on your fender. Now, can you drive a bad brand that has bad operation structure, no assets, no, that's pivotal to your brand functioning. So, so it, it's kind of like it's a system of how we look, it's a portrait of how we look at the whole brand and there are certain elements that have higher priority and lower priority. And so, but we can totally get into a conversation of what is the customer experience.

Stæven Frey (00:28:02):

When we're talking about UX, is it easy? Do they swipe? Do they click? Is it intuitive? Do I know what's next? Am I using shared, you know, kind of UX knowledge or am I making my own thing until Tinder? Nobody knew how to swipe left or right now that's not preparatory anymore. So swiping is no longer distinct. And so now all these other apps have it. I think even Facebook has Facebook dating. Like that's not distinct. I don't know that I'd want to do that there. Sorry, Facebook, Facebook's going to come back after me, like, ah, take them out. But, but swiping is a great example of it's something that was not intuitive. It's something that was adopted, but it's no longer distinctive to Tinder. It's distinctive just for a yes or no. So now we have this. Yes or no. Do I like it? Do I not like it? I do believe that is Amazon and this would be the next iteration of Amazon. It's like would be more like category categorically, if that's the right word, categorically driven. If what I was looking for, like, Hey, Alexa, I'm looking for guys shirts, awesome. Steven, you're looking for a guy's shirts. What color? And if,

Stæven Frey (00:29:17):

If girl could guide me through my shopping,

Stæven Frey (00:29:20):

I probably shop on Alexa, but because I have to do the work, I don't want to do it. And I have to type in terms based on algorithms that I don't understand that are driving my shopping behavior. So the more that UX can actually implement distinctive experiences, so no longer. So we've got swipe left

Stæven Frey (00:29:42):

Or no, but if I had, you know, a simple, you know, blue screen that said, Hey, Steven, how are you doing today? And I swiped up for red, down for purple to affect my mood. That's something that's going to be distinctive within that app. That's going to help me measure my mood. And then I can check in and see like, Oh, what times of the day, how am I feeling based on color? Or if I'm searching for pictures of things and I'm using the photography to drive the experience. I'm going to have an overall positive experience. But unfortunately the memories memories are not a realistic trackable component of why people buy. Because at the end of the day, we are behavioral creatures. We need to be interrupted and disruptive. Trust me, you do not go to the pet food aisle. It is not a destination aisle. It is not like the bakery where you just sit there.

Stæven Frey (00:30:32):

I can go, Oh, baked goods, you know, can you just, I'm like, there are cupcakes. Oh my gosh. There's stuff made with cheese and there's Crucell and there's Madeline cookies and I'm always going for the metal and cookies. And,

Stæven Frey (00:30:48):

But then I go to the, I go to the pet food aisle and I'm just like, get me out of here. Oh, there's a cat, you know? And they all have these, you can't brand a cat. They've tried. Nope. You know, except there's like that one cat that the guy wrote the book about, but the library or whatever, but you know, that's a book,

Stæven Frey (00:31:05):

You know, like this, you can't why,

Stæven Frey (00:31:07):

Because all animals are not. Now, if it was a distinctive style of animation that was like

Stæven Frey (00:31:14):

Squiggly and neon, I recognize it

Stæven Frey (00:31:17):

Is that cat. I know. But again, that would make me notice it, that wouldn't be the memory that drives me to get there. That would make me notice it I'm attracted to I get it. And so, so much of buyer behavior is about disruption now because we have our autopilot, we get up, we do our routines in the morning and everything is simply based on the brands that are accessible. And you better believe that if I can find something, that's just like this name, brand product that tastes just like this name brand product. It doesn't matter how much Chloe from Chicago with her French bull, you invested in her. She's not, you know, you can't target, you can't target her to be a loyal switcher. She's just going to buy that. You know she's going to buy what she wants based on where she goes.

Stæven Frey (00:32:04):

You know, I just got back from a camping trip, trust me at the tiny, tiny hometown, you know, grocery store, their selection was limited geographically by the brands that are accessible to them. And also they had a lot of brands I'd never heard of. And so I had to make choices based on the assets, the presentation in the packaging, and also the price point. And some of the stuff like the typical price for my almond milk is usually like two 69 it's on sale for two 50. It was 499 at the, at the, the, in the wall grandpa's store. And the problem with that for me was I was not willing to pay that price anymore. I was used to paying it a lower price. So I'm like, Oh, generic, almond milk. Here you go. And so they got me because they did a price comparison.

Stæven Frey (00:32:49):

And so that gets into other things that are not necessarily science-related, but are just simple merchandising and, and, and related tactics. So at the end of the day the answer to your question in the really long-winded from whence the rabbit trail came, is that we'd like to think that people have these positive, long lasting relationships with our brands, that we're an integral part of their life, and that you have a special type of customer and that you are in a lot of luxury brand and you only compete with luxury brands. All those things are false. At the end of the day, all we have is customer frequency of purchase your avatar, better be based on the type of problems you solve. A really great presentation of this is software as a solution in kind of your seat size, if you're a freelancer versus an agency or a studio or a large agency, or, you know, or any of your digital kind of tools that have that monthly subscription, it's based on how much value you want to provide and value you need to get out of it. And so that pricing is based on how much help and assistance you provide based on the seats, because they understand value based pricing,

Ed Orozco (00:34:08):

Right? So now we're going to get started with all of the pricing things and all of the, all of the I mean, I can keep asking you,

Stæven Frey (00:34:19):

I tried to hit it to, like, I've tried to lob it to you too at shortstop. And I'm like catch the ball we're talking about.

Ed Orozco (00:34:27):

I think that was a beautiful pass. I still have more questions about brand name, but I want to be mindful of of our audience. Dad came here to listen to more pricing and selling stuff. So maybe we should, maybe we should do another conversation another day. And I can ask you all the questions about the things that I'm still like. Oh, but how anyway yeah, I, I really love all of this stuff and I could talk about is about this stuff for hours on end. I want to ask you so how do you, you mentioned all of those, these attributes and all of, in all of this aspects that you should follow in based on the type of company that you are and the type of market that you're in, how do you build authority in your space?

Ed Orozco (00:35:19):

If you wanna be, if you, if you don't want to be like the bottom feeder, very low price, low cost type of company that has to sell many, many, many, many times the same service because their margins, their margins are so low and you're still not at the scale to compete with the big name, huge agencies that have, you know, hundreds of employees when the typical agency we're talking about between, you know, seven and 20 people maybe up to 30, these guys have to have to differentiate themselves. Right. And they need to know how to attract the right type of client. So what would be your sort of like advice or what do you say to these type of agencies?

Stæven Frey (00:36:12):

Sure. So to clarify, what I hear you saying is, you know, if, if you don't want to be a low cost leader and stuck, you know, producing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds at a low margin point, but you also are not in a place where you can demand top dollar, you know, how you charge what you're worth that you can make a viable income, but also provide value to the client. Is that what I hear you saying? Sure. So, so when it comes down to, you know, when it comes down to pricing, you know, I really kind of look at, you know, a few things. The first thing is, what is your category? Like, what is the category you are working in? So I work in branding. Branding is a subset of marketing. My niche is not a category. However, yours may be, you may design an app that's specifically for outdoor events.

Stæven Frey (00:37:04):

And so it, you know, say, you go to Lollapalooza, you go to Bonneroo, you go to a major music festival, it could be a Renaissance fair. But at that event, there may be a proprietary app that people can open, that they can see where all the events are, the calendar is, and that may be your niche. And so you can go after that niche and that's okay. But you also may find yourself in a place where I am, where I provide a really unique service. And so you may step back and say, you know what? It isn't really about music events. It's just events in general. So we work in the event space. And so you step back and be like, Oh, so we do Renaissance fairs. We do, you know, we don't just do music events. We do any type of event that is live.

Stæven Frey (00:37:44):

And then you want to build your core offer. Your core offer has gotta be what is the repeatable? You can do it in your sleep. And a lot of people call this productizing your service. And so, you know, this, when you are approached by clients or you have a business development person, who's pitching yourself to clients to start conversation, and you say, Hey, ed, I would love to get on the phone. I would love to hear it. Like, Hey, where do you want your agency to go, Oh, you want to go to this space? Well, what's the thing getting in the way of that. Oh, it's, this is the thing getting in the way. Well, well, to tell you, we actually have a program that helps agencies that struggle with ABC accomplish one, two, three, the things that you just said you wanted to accomplish and get to.

Stæven Frey (00:38:27):

And then and, and this is kind of like USB you know, unique value proposition speak. Like we help agencies accomplish one, two, three and get XYZ. But I like to kind of say, like when you're having this conversations, using that metaphor you're going to hear the same problems over and over and over. If you have this same core offer, does it matter? What's your niches? I use the same services I've worked with over 115 major brands put over 500 skews in over 10 major international retailers. You know when I've worked in over 65 plus categories, but the science of my process is the same. The science of what I'm doing for them, the core offer is the same. And in your agency, you may have the way that you do things. That's back of house. That's how you cook the stuff in the kitchen and that can change and that can grow.

Stæven Frey (00:39:25):

But in the front of the house, they come in the door, please wait to be seated. They get the menu. Hi, my name is Steven. What can I get you to today to drink? And there's those five touch points. And you have that process nailed down. So you've got to have that process nailed down in the front of the house that you're selling to the client. And so, you know, Oh, people are here, metaphorically speaking to buy martinis after, you know, 8:00 PM. That is what your service does. And UX speak. It may be our category is we provide apps for internal communications for companies. If that could be your niche, but at the end of the day, that's your core offering. You don't stray from that. And every time you talk to a customer, you're gonna be like, add, Oh my gosh, let me tell you, we solve problems like that every day.

Stæven Frey (00:40:17):

Tell me a client is not going to want to hear that. Like, this is not rocket science, the brain science, but it's not rocket science. And, and so you want to say like, Hey, I deal with this all the day. Can I tell you how many times? You know, when I work with agencies, they may come to a meet and, you know, they may be working on an app or a website, or maybe they want an internal app. But regardless, this happens to all of us, the client hands us an ugly brand Mark, or no brand market, all or no graphic standards. And they're just like, here, make something. And you're like, I'm not a fairy tooth mother. I don't have a magic wand. How do I, where does this come from? So, so there's a lot of problems that I remove from agencies every day.

Stæven Frey (00:40:56):

And I'm just like, add, I feel ya. Well, let me tell you how many times somebody has come, come back to me and they don't have a logo, or they have an ugly logo and they want to put it on the 50 grand, you know, app that we just made them. So here's the selling statement is add every day, you know, we help clients with problems just like yours. You know, one, two and three accomplish a, B and C. We help them attract more clients, you know stay connected with their customers and increase their, you know, whatever those problems are you solve. And then I throw in this little kicker and we make sure that your brand can accomplish all those things. And with that one little statement, you transform your agency to be consultative because now is it no longer just about the app?

Stæven Frey (00:41:43):

So if you said, Hey, Hey Steven, you know, I'd like to create this this app. And I say, awesome. I create this app. And then all of a sudden, I don't address your brand. I don't address some of the problems. I see. It's going to be really hard navigating that conversation backwards. So I I'm, front-loading the expectations on the front. So the first thing is we've got our niche, our niches are our core offer. It doesn't have to be a category. It can be a core offer of a thing that we do over and over and over. And then you're basically going to have a consultative version. Like, what's the like, Hey, Steven, would you mind like, just like, eh, just get on the phone with me for an hour. Yeah. Okay. I can do that. I can get on the phone with you at 2 million an hour.

Stæven Frey (00:42:26):

Is that realistic? No. Okay. One 50, 15 hour. Okay. Everyone has room for that random stuff. That's consultative. You build it in your business. If something doesn't fit, you never know. Ed may come back to me and be like, Hey, Steven, after, you know, I call you just blew my mind and provided so much value. Could we talk about you redoing that app for me? Sure. So you've got the, like, what is the entryway? What is the appetizer? What is the way they get in? You know, for me, that's courses. People want to learn, you know, how do I get my agency? How do we get our brand assets in [inaudible] up with your method? Well, then they can move on to learning the method. If they want to like, learn that. Well, then they move on from that to like, we either want to sell more branding ourselves, or we want you to do the branding ourselves.

Stæven Frey (00:43:15):

But I figured out, ah, this is the repeatable experience I want to have over and over and over just like them walking through the door with the menu and the waiter it's repeatable. I recreate it. So all, all of a sudden, when I say the word marketing funnels, that's just, just, it's just another doorway of how people come into your restaurant, how people come into work with you, you know? So what are the ways that I manage that? Well, I manage that by them either they can do, you know, calls, they can do blogs, they can sign up for my course. I know what those entry points are to that productized core offer. So you've got to have your core offer and it's gotta be productized. So people understand, like what are they getting? And so when, when I say productize, it's not like I'm putting a fake box of something on my website and saying, this is, you know, this is the Steven 2.0 services.

Stæven Frey (00:44:05):

Like, like, what's that, no, we're not actually making a product, but we're, we're describing it. Let's get product. You get this five page report, you get, you know, search history, you know, search engine optimization, you get five designs for your homescreen. You get 12 different you're laying out what they are getting. And so that like ingredients list then becomes how you pitch your services. So you've got your core offer and your core offer literally as the thing that you do over and over and over and over in your seat, everything you do is pouring people into those like entry points to work with you, that core offer. Some people are going to come in the door, ready to buy. Some of them are they're going to need more time. And so some people are going to be those heavy buyers. Some people are going to be those lights buyers.

Stæven Frey (00:44:55):

So what do you have for the repeat customer? And that's where you get into strategy, ongoing consulting for the person. They may just want, you know, an app audit, you know, get your, you know, and this is a great lead form. Get your, you know, free app audit. And, and you just say, you know, somebody that works at your team just spends 15 minutes and they just checklist check, check, check. You could even make that into a content download and say like, Hey, what's what's a rate, get our content or get our app download checklist or our app gooey checklist right now. And self-score like, all of a sudden, you just turned that into content. They can do it themselves, or you can do it for them. And then, you know, maybe it's for $99, you'll, you'll review up to five screens. You know, that's a smaller, easy sporadic purchase.

Stæven Frey (00:45:46):

So we've got the, the coupon version, which is like, Ooh, I walked by and I grabbed it. And it's a coupon. It's the free download. Or I've got the incentivized purchase for the sporadic person. Or, you know, I've got, I've got the one where, you know, I may have seen you, you may send out a value email that says, Hey you know, we're doing a free webinar on the self, you know, rate your, your, you know, how to, how to evaluate the 10 mistakes that all app design, all apps have, make sure you don't make these 10 mistakes and you could make content out of that. You can make a webinar out of that. So all of a sudden you've got legs to how you're propelling your offer. So your core offer multiple entry points, multiple ways to purchase, but then you can accelerate and say like, Oh, this is my core offer, but what is my advanced offer?

Stæven Frey (00:46:35):

What do I really like if I had a magic wand and people want to purchase, like, it's gotta be worth my time though. So it's like, here's my core offer. And maybe your core offer is five X. Your wow offer may be 12 X and then your bare bones minimum offer maybe 2.5 X. So you've got 2.5, maybe say five or six X and then 12. So now you have your core offer. You have your wow offer and you have your bare bones offer. And literally you're pitching to your client, say like, Hey, I know what you need and how fast we get you, where you want to be is based on how much you're able to invest. And when you say it that way, it's not about you being greedy, trying to make money. It's not about you trying to charge them too much.

Stæven Frey (00:47:22):

It's like, Hey, like we've got the like app, the free app download on how to go. Or you could join the Y the membership, or you could get a personal trainer, or you could get an Olympic team training, like, like, which do you want, because it's about the results. And when you speak to the results you can consistently and repetitively guide the client on a quarterly basis, according to their business goals, how fast and how capable you're able to help them. So you're creating like, Oh, what do you want to accomplish this quarter? Well, where are you at? Are you on the slow? Are you on the medium? Are you on the like super aggressive plan? That's going to help them move them to their goals faster. And so they're going to see that horror, that higher ROI though, if they have a physical trainer or personal trainer, or if they have that Olympic team people, but here's thing, the Olympic team co coaching team, isn't going to be very helpful if you've never done anything before.

Stæven Frey (00:48:23):

So, so if I'm looking at that, you know, it could be a hundred X, a hundred X all at once. It's not going to be realistic to me, but what if I said, Hey, add, we help people like you every day with the problems with their apps, with their UX design, create intuitive, you know, memorable experiences for their audience, they're useful, helpful, and, and accomplish what they want for creating community shopping, whatever your, your sales pitch is. And we make sure that your brain can do that. And we've got a program and I'm making this up on the fly. We've got the program it's called the gooey success accelerator. And I just made that up based on some things I want to highlight. I'm speaking to the benefit, whatever that benefit is. And I'm saying we're doing it faster. And the whole goal is to say, I'm selling them a program or an ongoing based approach.

Stæven Frey (00:49:21):

Because if I come to somebody and say, my numbers are, you know, 25, K 50 K a hundred K, they, this may be what they really need in that hundred K spot, but there's no way, there's no way in Chicago. I'm going to be able to sell them a hundred K all at once. Cause here's why they may be less than a million dollars. And if they're less than a million dollars, it doesn't matter how much I want to charge them. At the end of the day, they've probably never spent more than 3% of their marketing. And so when I look at 3% of a million, that's 30 K they've probably never spent 30, more than $30,000 on everything in their company. That's agregious. So now for me to come and ask that of them, I can't ask them that. So say, you know, you and I use those numbers loosely, but we always heard that, Oh, people spend eight to 10% of the gross annual revenue on marketing, like who is like the diamond industry. They're just like, Oh yeah. Tell him, you should spend Oh yeah. Three to five of their salary on diamonds. Yeah. Yeah.

Stæven Frey (00:50:28):

Like who made that up? Some greedy, greedy person. It's the same

Stæven Frey (00:50:33):

Stop being greedy when you approach your clients, because you didn't do your homework. If you're pitching services, your clients or clients can intuitively afford. So doing the numbers on this. Yes. You're a UX agency. You do brilliant UX design and say you do it for, you know, music or you know entertainment and media. You're a great entertainment media. You do great gooey and all your customers love you. Well, how much are those customers that are your best customers able to invest? How much are they making here? Are they making 2 million a year? Because if they're making 2.5 million a year and you're pitching projects to them, and you're saying, Oh 10th kind of grand you're, you're barely even, you know, charge charging a fifth of a percent to them. You know? So at the end of the day, if they're a $2 million company, you come in and say, Hey you guys need this app.

Stæven Frey (00:51:37):

Twenty-Five twenty-five grand. Okay. You need five of them this year. Oh, quarterly. Okay. We can do five, five of those a year. And all of a sudden you start to do the math and say, wow, this $2.5 million company they spend, you may find out like, Hey ed, how much do you spend doing your marketing? And they'd be like, Oh, typically we spend 10%. Wow. So $2.5 million company actually is spending 250 K on their marketing and their, their marketing budget. And so if you come in and say like, Hey, what if I provided X amount of value, doing all this stuff, built you, your custom tailored plan, would that be worth 50 K that fits well within their, their, their budget. And in fact, you could come back and pitch if, let me do my math here, you know, you could come back and pitch, you know, 3% would be 75, K 4% would be, you know, 0.04% would be, you know, a 0.0 5.04% would be a hundred thousand.

Stæven Frey (00:52:40):

So 0.04% of 2.5 million. So a hundred grand. So when we're looking at, you know, when we're, when we're looking at the numbers, we have to be realistic. So I try to say, Hey, if you're looking at branding, branding's typically going to cost you 1.5 to 3.5 as a starting point of your annual revenue. Now there's, there's big brands out there that when they invest, they invest more than that. Why? Because they see it as an investment. They know why they're investing, but when I'm looking at the average company, unless they are, you know, a two, $2 million company you know, and I'm looking at, you know, 1%, that's 20 grand, $32 million company, I'm looking at 3%, that's 60 grand. I probably mess up my numbers. People are in the comments and see if it's bad. You know, but the idea is that if I'm coming back and I'm doing that 3%, that's 60 grand.

Stæven Frey (00:53:33):

And if I'm looking at that 4%, you know those numbers are, are well within that, that budget of theirs. That's not going to seem egregious. That's going to seem realistic and so on to you have, you know, work with Steven, the big, bad boy fry in your reputation that you can charge, whatever you want. You have to look at your category, you have to look at your client's gross annual revenue. So your questions are like, Hey, tell me about the category you're in. How many employees do you have? You know, if they say, Oh, we're national, ah, that's a great question. We have five to 10 points. Okay. We're doing about 5 million year. Okay. and we're in, you know, we're in the social space. Oh, okay. And I'm doing this bulls eye approach of, are they a good fit? Like, well, we're a local company.

Stæven Frey (00:54:27):

Didn't move the Mark. We sell ice to Eskimos. That's all, that's a hard sell that. Didn't move the Mark. It's all word of mouth. Okay. We do 10 billion a year. Oh. So the number moves because of a factor. And then what makes, so what makes them an ideal client is a combination of the things you're looking for the size of the company. Do they have the capability? You know, for me, is, are they profitable and influenceable? Are they someone that says like, Oh my gosh, you're an expert at what you do add, thank you so much. Yes. We need someone like you. If somebody says something to me like that I'm more prone to work with them, you know? So, so the question comes back to, okay, how do I make a living? How do I make a living being reputable for the client size that I have? The first question is, well, why are you targeting that client size?

Stæven Frey (00:55:20):

That's the question behind the question? It's like, Hey, like we like clean dishes. Should we, should we turn on the dishwasher? Yes. You know, that's like, but wait, how nice are those dishes? They're paper. Your prob probably don't need to wash them. So it's like, what, what was the goal you wanted to start out with? So we, we, we, we, we end up misleading ourselves. So when we're looking at clients, we want to look at like, like, what is the target that we want to S what is reasonable? So, Oh, we have this core service. And you know what, just, I'm, I'm a firm believer that you cannot sell a product for less than 10 K you're hurting the client. Don't even do it. You're hurting client. You're hurting yourself. Don't sell it for less than 10 K. There's a couple of people out there that, that agree with me.

Stæven Frey (00:56:09):

I was in a community. One of them, they even had a program called the 10 K bootcamp. Like how to charge more for your projects, how to provide more value. And what ended up happening was is you yes, there's anchoring that you position yourself with how you charge, but you also have to have the homework to back it up. So if you've got the homework to back it up, you're good at what you do. You need to know what is realistic, what is, what are other people charging? But then you got to reverse engineer the numbers. That's really where it comes from, because if it doesn't matter how much people in your category charge, if you're not talking to, you're not attracting the right clients, you're not, you know, when people go down that aisle, you know, we go down the cookie aisle.

Stæven Frey (00:56:52):

If you are trying to be cake or pie or crackers or chips with your marketing, it's not going to work. You got to stick to your category. If you work with nonprofits and create apps for nonprofits, you have to look at what are the customer cues that they're looking for? What are the problems they're serving, but also what can they realistically spend? And then also are those the right nonprofit organizations to target. There are non-profits out there that are willing to spend 10, 15, 20, 50, a hundred K on great digital solutions for their nonprofits, but you're not geared up the right way to talk to them because they don't see that when they go on your site. I mean, literally notice, attract, get, I look at it. Oh, cereal. You know, I'm attracted, Oh, bright colors and fruit flavors. And then I'm like, ah, fruity pebbles.

Stæven Frey (00:57:48):

Gluten-Free yes, I get it. That is as simple. Like I go, I'm literally navigating that category by what I'm looking for. They go to your website and there's actually actually a mech labs. Mech labs is a marketing experiments labs has an infographic David Fry, we are not related has the 12 step sales letter. Mech labs has the 21 elements infographic. And they, they aggressed the same thing. They literally are. They literally are the steps that people psychologically go through. So when they, they look at your, your website, Oh, UX agency. Okay. And then they scroll them. Oh, that makes beautiful apps. Okay. And it's like, yeah. And, and, and they, they walk through that framework. And it's the same thing as that intuitive, that intuitive letter that sales letter format. Do you struggle with this? However, you tired of trying with this, try this and, you know, and then providing the social proof and that, and the testimonials that is standard, psychological profile stuff that is science.

Stæven Frey (00:58:56):

We can talk about that another day, but at the end of the day, people need to look at it. They need to see what you do. They need to get it. And you have to start off talking the right language to the people that you want to do business with. And I guarantee you that a $2.5 million business looks at different things based on their age and stage that a $10 million business looks at. And so the goal is you need be talking to the right people to begin with, and you need to know who you're talking to. And some of that is just based on the financial numbers.

Ed Orozco (00:59:29):

So the first step is identifying what's, what's the market that you want to go after, before you can come up with predetermined prices or

Stæven Frey (00:59:40):

Whatever. And market market is kind of loose. Like that's a really, really loose, I say, category, like, what is the category? Cause in clothing, there's categories, there's bottoms, there's tops. Well, then there's sweaters. Then there's hoodies. Like how deep are we going into the category? And how specific is it? You know, you could run an agency that is solely based on working with contractors. You know, you could pre a digital agency that is based solely on restaurants and creating, you know, an app so that they can get off of platforms like Yelp and some of these other platforms and drive delivery. But then at the same point, why would you want to, would it be great to have just simple redirects? You know, so there's conversations that you ask the customer about, why do you want, what you want? How do you create a solution that's custom for you?

Stæven Frey (01:00:31):

You know, the goal is you want to get into your, your category, what is your category? And then from there, your core offer, and then your core offer, you need to make sure that that is realistic within the boundaries of your expected targeted ideal client. And your ideal client is not Chloe from Chicago. It's not based on demographic data. It's based on the problems that you solve every day. So you literally have a tier of, of, you know, kind of appetizer main course, the whole menu, everything training program offers, and you have those offers. And, and literally that proposal never changes the problems. You're going to hear them over and over again. They're the same. And, and you're going to start to turn around those clients as conversations that you have. So it's like somebody calls you up. Hey, Steven I've got a project for you.

Stæven Frey (01:01:24):

That's awesome. Ad would love to schedule a time real quick. Just what, what is it? What is it you're thinking about? Like, Oh, well we are selling underwater basket weaving. Awesome. That doesn't sound like that's a best fit for me, but I know who it is. You stopped wasting your time. You started saying like, Hey, let me funnel this call. Let me see, is this even a good fit? Does it even make sense for us to talk together? And then you're like, Oh, awesome. Sounds like you guys need some UX work on your site and you have a digital app. That's great. Let's talk more on a strategy call next week also. So then you're getting those interactions. The interactions are planned, they're scheduled, you know, and they're happening. They're repeatable, they're perfectible. You're getting some leading and lagging indicators from success to profits to maybe a little, you know, how was your call? You know, how was your call with ed today? Thumbs up, thumbs down. Like some of those things you can there's, you can put along the way. So the, the goal, the goal is ultimately everything becomes a repeatable process and experience starting from beginning to finish.

Speaker 5 (01:02:30):

Why do you say to those agency owners or agencies in general, who are afraid to turn away clients because they're not the right fit?

Stæven Frey (01:02:41):

You know, hindsight is 2020. You, you know learning is often the greatest teacher, but here's the thing like learn from some people who know better learn some from some people who, you know, how many years have we, as agencies been out there doing things on our own learning, the hard way. Thank you, digital age. And, you know, as entrepreneurs, many of us agency owners have been working from our homes, Panera Starbucks, coffee shops. And only until now, was that way of living remote living, like, is it like not poo-pooed upon? So it's like now virtual makes sense. Now virtual communities are make sense. And so the goal, the goal is, you know, do you, do you want to do things, do you have time to waste? Do you have like the patients to, to, to, to donkey around? Like, do you like, if, so then I applaud you because I sure as heck don't I've spent, you know, since I was 21, when I first got hired at an agency, it was, that was a joke.

Stæven Frey (01:03:48):

They shouldn't have hired me. Not because I wasn't talented, but because you should not hire a 21 year old for a senior account executive job, like, unless you're desperate they didn't know what they were doing. I luckily knew what I was passionate about, what I was doing. And then I found out this wasn't a good fit, but I don't have those 10 years back. I don't have the 10 years since I started my own agency. I don't have the 15 years that I've been in this industry back. If I can learn from other people, say like, Hey, here's what works, you know? But you got to look and see, does what they say work like is the proof in the pudding? Is it in the tasting? Like, do you like, are they really a credible source? Because unfortunately the other qualm about the digital ages is, you know, I click on, I don't do ads, but if I click on an ad from Steven, that I'm going to get an ad from ed, then I'm going to get an ad from Luke that I'm getting ad from Lucy and all these people who are experts in their selling me, you know, basically the get rich fast, get slim, fast, get clients, fast, whatever, you know, quality time, speed, you know, profit, whatever those things are.

Stæven Frey (01:04:52):

You know, you're getting those things thrown at you and you don't know if they're credible. So, so first thing first look to credible credible sources who have their stuff together who have agency experience. You know, if they look like they're 21 to 25, and they're doing some video walking outside, pitching you, their get clients fast course run for Hills. If you have time to learn all this stuff on your own, you know what you want to take those clients that are a bad fit. Okay. Sure, sure, sure. So at the end of the day, you know, if you have that time great, but I would rather learn and say, you know, Oh my gosh, ed, you know, you've got in, you've got this XYZ program that can help me get started fast now. Oh my gosh, I'm so tight. Like there's people out there that are tired of wasting time.

Stæven Frey (01:05:48):

They want clients that fit. And if someone can tell you like, Hey, here's the variables. That's what you need to listen for is if someone says I have the formula run, but if someone says, here are the variables that you should consider, I will listen. And when it comes down to variables, variables are just this, you know, how I diagnose someone's brand, you know, agent stage size, you know, sales footprint you know, the agents, each of their company, are they new? Are they older? You know the complexity of their portfolio and services. So some of these factors are how I diagnose, but it's also how I create value based pricing in their variables. And I need you to apply your lens and filter to those variables. Rose what I've just told you has no value whatsoever. If someone says here's the 12 step formula, how you ABC, and one, two, three to get X, Y, Z, whatever.

Stæven Frey (01:06:43):

And it's all like, like book in a box, like just plug these templates in. No, like that's not how agencies work. That's not agencies are not templates. Clients are not templates. Now, if you understand the consistent variables working with your client, you can get ahead. If you understand the typical price point of a project and the average annual revenue of the client has, you can get ahead and you can plan. But at the end of the day, if you're choosing clients that aren't a good fit, you're, you're literally planning to fail. You know, some people say that, you know, failing to plan is planning to fail. No, by not having a plan. And actually literally choosing anybody who pay attention to you as an agency that is a disaster waiting to happen. So, so you need those qualifiers and here's the thing you can't go say, you know, Hey ed, will you be my sales guy?

Stæven Frey (01:07:39):

What Ed's supposed to magically come up with all this stuff himself? No, you have to know these answers before you can hire someone else to do those things for you. So if you don't have the knowledge and you're not willing to learn it and bestow it and pass it on, how is someone else coming from nowhere with no experience going to be able to learn this too? So so, so I would say no, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't take the clients. That's not a good fit. You'll thank me later. And hopefully you will think of me now.

Ed Orozco (01:08:09):

Yeah. The, they very quickly turn very sour. And I've said firsthand working with working with all kinds of very sheeting clients. If you have a hunch that it's not going to work it's probably not going to work, but also if you don't have a hunch, then, you know, have a, have a criteria

Stæven Frey (01:08:35):

You can, the criteria literally are, you know, what is, what is their size? What is their annual revenue? Are they local national, regional, international, like questions like that? Are they in the category? I love working with, you know, I work in pet care, fast consumer packaged goods. You know, I work with agencies B2B B to C nonprofit and startups. Those are my main categories I've worked with over 65, but you know what, there's the ones that I like the most. I like, you know, digital brands, like digital agencies and I like packaging. And so I just say like, Oh yeah. And it's literally, it's not, it's nothing against them. It's nothing against me. It's, it's just like, do I have, do I have the patients to take on, you know, a client that's going to be difficult, but I really want to invest in a good brand that I really like.

Stæven Frey (01:09:23):

Sometimes it's sometimes it's the soft skills and factors too. Like, man, I really get along with ed. He's a great potential client, but man, there's a lot of work to do. And, and just tell him, be like, Hey, I'm really interested in working with you. You know, tell me like, how important is it for you to have an agency partner that can tell you the truth that you've got some shorts on your face? Cause there's some hard truths. We gotta be honest to you about the work we got to do together. But if you're committed, we're interested in working together. Man. If I had an agency tell me that as a client, like, Hey Steven, your apps are in disarray. Like there's 42,000 things wrong with them. How committed are you to really working on these? Cause I feel like this could be a profitable project and really help you guys ABC XYZ.

Stæven Frey (01:10:07):

Oh my gosh. I would be like thrilled that someone would care enough to say that to me. You know? So, so at the end of the day, there are those soft factors and it's a, I call that the wild card. Are there any wildcard factors? You know, if there is something that is connected to your passion, something that's a major experience or just something like a cause that you want to give back. And you're like, Oh my gosh, we need to do, you know some UX stuff for a cat rescue. I've a cat rescuer. I don't mind. Yeah. And that may be the wildcard factor, but then you also have to say how much I'm willing to invest in that and how much for how long and how you put some boundaries on it. Say like we're able to provide X services for X long at this category.

Stæven Frey (01:10:58):

And then that becomes a way that maybe you give back. But at the end of the day, a criterion with a wild card. And then if there is that wild card, you have to put boundaries on it. So if it is something you're passionate about, you're willing to walk away or put a time period or, or a lockdown so that they know that, you know, you're, you also are not at, you know, that you're, exhaustible like there's a limit to what you're able to do. And so the whole point of a proposal says, this is what we can do. We'd love to give you the world, but you can't afford it. So how much are you willing to do? How much can you do? And so that's where those, those factors and criteria you said come up to part.

Ed Orozco (01:11:40):

Yeah, this is all very, very exciting. I like how you think about this stuff and how you've analyzed beyond, you know, the, the common advice that people receive and you have actually looked at, you know, things that, like you said, you're, you're giving people you're telling people where to look instead of giving them the solution, but rather here's, here are the factors that you can use to make your decision and go and decide for yourself. You like, again, if you want to work with a sheet of client, go ahead by all means, but you know, considered this and this and this before you make your decision. Sure, sure. So you don't regret it. Steven, thank you so much for your time. I would love to have you again on the podcast to continue talking about other stuff. Cause I feel like, I mean, it's just

Stæven Frey (01:12:32):

Over, over an hour about [inaudible] stuff

Ed Orozco (01:12:37):

And even cover like three tier pricing and them, I wanted to talk more about the memory structures and other stuff. So I think now would be a great time to, to stop. I don't want the episode to be too long.

Stæven Frey (01:12:52):

I appreciate that. And I'm sure the listeners do too, but how about

Ed Orozco (01:12:56):

Well, I'll, I'll check in with you later, and then we can probably organize another episode to talk about the origin.

Stæven Frey (01:13:05):

Well, Hey, thank you so much for listening. Again my name is Stephen Fry at quantum branding and I'm so, so happy to join with you guys today and hopefully this has been helpful for you at your agency, as you learn how to navigate the things ins and outs with clients, with pricing and hopefully dip your toe in the world of brand science so that you can understand a little bit more how to deliver more ironclad branding to your, your you UX projects. Where can people contact you? Great question. So on a couple of places, the main place is quantum It's a non traditional top level domain. But for me that's, that's kind of one thing that makes me distinct is It doesn't give me a better SEO, I wish. But quantum branding agency you can find me there also on Facebook as well. But those are the main two channels and even have a group if you're interested in joining called brand. Damitri literally we talk about it's a Facebook group specifically talk about the science of branding day in, day out and things like so there's three places, Facebook, Facebook group, a Facebook page, Facebook group and quantum branding agency.

Ed Orozco (01:14:17):

Awesome. I'm going to put those links also in the description for those who liked, who actually read the description and thanks again. So we're going to put words. Yeah. But yeah, I know. I mean at least on, on, on I think podcasts on Apple podcasts is not that easy to find the description. Sure, sure. Anyway, thanks everyone for listening, Steven. Thank you so much for all the knowledge and sharing your time with us and I'll see you all in a future episode, take care. See ya. Bye-Bye.

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