Never Been Promoted Podcast

Chase Friedman: Mastering Brand Strategy for Purpose-Driven Success

February 25, 2024 Thomas Helfrich Season 1 Episode 24
Never Been Promoted Podcast
Chase Friedman: Mastering Brand Strategy for Purpose-Driven Success
Never Been Promoted
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Never Been Promoted Podcast with Thomas Helfrich

Dive into an inspiring episode of the Never Been Promoted podcast as Thomas Helfrich sits down with Chase Friedman, a visionary brand strategist and founder. Chase's passion lies in empowering brands to find and articulate their unique purpose, transforming how they connect with their audience, community, and the world. Operating from Atlanta, Chase's journey from a solopreneur with a filmmaking background to a sought-after brand strategist showcases the power of storytelling and empathy in creating resonant brands. Learn how Chase navigated the challenges of entrepreneurship, the pivot towards purpose-driven branding, and how he utilizes strategic storytelling to foster deep connections and sustainable growth.

About Chase Friedman:

Chase Friedman stands at the intersection of storytelling and brand strategy, leveraging his unique background in filmmaking to craft compelling narratives that capture the essence of a brand. His company specializes in helping purpose-driven brands unlock their potential through clear, impactful messaging and strategic positioning. Chase's approach goes beyond traditional branding; it's about diving deep into the 'why' behind a business and amplifying it in a way that resonates on a human level. Through his work, Chase aims to guide brands towards not just profit, but purpose, creating a lasting impact on their audience and beyond.

In this episode, Thomas and Chase explore:

The Importance of Empathy in Brand Strategy: Building deeper connections through understanding and addressing the core needs and values of your audience.
Storytelling as a Branding Tool: How narrative can distinguish and elevate your brand in a crowded marketplace.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset: The role of resilience, listening, and continuous learning in navigating the entrepreneurial journey.
Purpose-Driven Branding: Aligning your business with a greater mission to drive meaningful engagement and sustainable success.

Key Takeaways:

Crafting a Compelling Brand Narrative: The significance of storytelling in creating an authentic and memorable brand identity.
Entrepreneurial Resilience: Insights into overcoming challenges and the value of seeking guidance and mentorship.
Purpose as a Differentiator: The power of a purpose-driven approach in standing out and making a real difference.

"Empathy and purpose are not just buzzwords; they are the foundation of a brand that connects and endures." — Chase Friedman


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Welcome to the Never Been Promoted podcast with Thomas Helfrich. Get ready for a thrilling adventure as we uncover entrepreneurial journeys and life-changing business insights every week. And now, your host, Thomas.

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Welcome to another episode of Never Been Promoted, the podcast that helps you unleash your entrepreneur. I still go to say that word sometimes, entrepreneur, if you don't know how to spell it, write it down 100 times and you still won't know how to spell it. Thank God for spell check. But today, listen, if this is your first time joining, thank you so much. We take the lessons and journeys of entrepreneurs and we help tell a story that you can learn from to get benefit as an entrepreneur. So you can unleash your entrepreneur if you've listened before, thank you for returning Because today we're joined by Chase Friedman. Mr. Friedman, how are you today?

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I'm great. I like when you call me know.

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I had written down how to introduce you and I can't find the notes that would come to my you.

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I'll take it.

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Take, take it away, please, because I cannot seem to find the window where I have all good.

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Introduce yourself, Mr. Friedman to you, Chase Friedman, or Chase to anybody else. Brand strategist and founder of. You know, my purpose as I like to share is helping others find theirs in their life and in their business. So I work with empowering, purpose driven brands to unlock that passion, that purpose, that clarity, to make a lasting impact in their business, in the lives of their customers, their communities, the world at large. In best cases, I believe that every business has the ability to achieve that great balance between profit and purpose, right?

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To do good and do well as entrepreneurs that are out there. I think the thing I'll throw out there right now is, and we can attack it and we'll come back to some things. But when someone's looking to become an entrepreneur, a lot of times they don't know if they can stomach the long haul. To build a really good brand with purpose takes investment, takes time. You can't drain your company from day one on money for yourself. You're going to have to have some kind of level. At the same time, you can't have the get quick rich thing that you see all over YouTube. So as you're thinking through branding and start me out with entrepreneurs that you work with and you can talk about your own story too, if you'd like to get here to set up the credentialing. But talk about that differentiating in brand strategist because it starts from day one, from a mentality at least my interactions with you and understanding kind of how it works for my own business, give us a little history of kind of like how you got to here, but tackle that first of day one brand, how do you do it as an entrepreneur? Yeah.

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Look, you got to ask some tough questions. You got to be willing to get vulnerable. A lot of entrepreneurs, like you said, just kind of bowl right in. We've got to go to market plan. We've got to hit certain targets, growth, growth, growth at all costs. But stop and kind of pump the brakes a little bit. Measure twice, cut once, ask yourself, why? Why am I doing this? What do I believe in? Why do I. We, the business exist beyond the bottom line. The reason that is more important now than ever before is we're living in this kind of more socially conscious sort of consumer environment. Right. And there is more competition, and there are more options for consumers to do business with than ever before. So how do you stand out in the sea of sameness? Okay, I understand that you might have a unique positioning for your product or price point or service, but all that stuff kind of still gets lost in consumers minds that are searching for a deeper identity. So as an entrepreneur, the exciting thing is the business should be a reflection of you. Right? You got to do a little personal development to get to that professional development. So really wearing on your sleeve the values you stand behind, why you are in business, what you stand for, and making sure that's front and center and part of your messaging. And that is very quickly going to attract your tribe, that audience, whether it's consumers or even employees or investors to want to do business with you because of what you stand for and what you mean, not just the features and benefits your product or service offers, anyone can do that. That's a quick race to the bottom line in terms of price. So starting with asking yourself why you are unique or what you believe, how you are uniquely delivering upon that, and then get to what it is I actually do as a business, as an entrepreneur.

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Yeah. And that aligns to a problem you solve. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I meet, when they think of their brand, they think logos and colors, which is part of the feel and story. It's probably one of the last things you should do, actually. And I've definitely wasted hours and monies, and I realize the biggest brands, you know, their logos and stuff, but they landed there, and even then, they adjust them sometimes and their taglines and other things. So focus more on what your purpose is, is what I'm hearing. And that purpose will shift and change based on a few things, your own perspectives of life, but also the business side of what the customers actually aligned to. Because you might have not articulated correctly, but they felt it right. And then as you've gotten to know them, they're like, it's actually more this or you may have found a super good niche for yourself. And what I was leaning to that is a lot of customers, let's take out the b to c or direct to see where your volume matters. But a lot of b to b, trust driven, try to sales. Either it be software technologies or just like services. Like a coach. They sometimes are afraid of niche because they're afraid of losing options. The FOMo. And talk to me about creating a brand around a niche that is good enough, but how do you get a customer who doesn't want to go that route? So talk about that, because I think that's super important to defining a brand and differentiator is being like, I want ten customers total a month. There's some people like that, but yet they're trying to create a brand that's to millions talk about the niching of a brand and that story. So entrepreneurs can say get comfortable with less is more kind of an idea.

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Yeah, absolutely. I think you're spot on. I mean, I think it's difficult and everyone is a little bit hesitant to kind of niche down, if you will. But even beyond niche niche, I look at it as, okay, great, you're going to occupy a smaller or niche category within an existing segment or category. I think there's a little bit more of a broader kind of perspective now that we consider to be category positioning. Right. Category, find an entirely new category or blend of what you do and how you do it. That is completely blue sky or blue ocean. Right. So you're really developing and defining your own market unto yourself. You're becoming instantly a market leader versus constantly trying to bite off a smaller piece of the pie when there's already established one or two market leaders. If you're not in that top rank.

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And you're not going to be, I mean, that's the point. Even if you had the funds for it, you wouldn't be trusted and you wouldn't have the brand recognition. The problem is it's kind of that influencer culture that you see this and that's what you want. Not realizing that 15 years ago someone had maybe stumbled onto it, but they'd started into some niche and they've built their business and brand because they can now. And I think that's what's lost is the overnight successes that aren't really actually overnight. It's someone who really kind of grinded. Please, I didn't interrupt you. I know what you mean there. Like, you see these things you want that you're like, but you're going to need to pick a sliver of that and go own a part.

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Well, people like to kind of follow the safe path, right? And that's why you get a lot of these lookalike companies and products and services and they're doing the same sort of tactics for marketing and for growth, when in fact, the most successful way to cut through that noise, that sea of sameness, is to be entirely disruptive and divergent. Be unique unto your own self. It takes courage as an entrepreneur to do that, right? To say, I'm not going to play in the same field as everybody else. I'm going to create my own field over here. And yes, it takes a little bit more time, a little more patience, but when you nurture it, when you cultivate that tribe and that audience, you become the market leader, right? You become the preeminent voice and thought leader in that space. And so I think this is the number one rule is don't try and play it safe. Don't try and follow kind of what everyone else is doing. Pave your own path. And I do believe that you have to kind of ground and have clarity over your purpose in that story that you are telling to help guide that path forward. Otherwise you're going to be kind know there's a great quote. You know, a man without a compass is like a ship loss in the ocean. You need to have that North Star, that compass guiding you forward in every business decision you make based on that. Why based on that purpose and knowing you are taking a little bit of a different route than everybody else.

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Yeah, well, I tell people time different is better and different will also define what was going to work and what's not going to work. And I think sometimes, too, I think you realize your own capabilities. If you can't do that, you have to really question is what you're doing the right thing now, if you're making money and it's good, then whatever you're doing, keep doing, of course. But if you find yourself struggling, you really have to kind of be self reflective of do I really have the talent for what I'm doing and do I have the courage to get out of my comfort zone? Because if you don't, you're going to struggle to be like everybody else. And you probably make a living, you'll probably be fine with it. But if you're trying to really grow something that's leading in some category, of any category, you're going to have to take a risk. You're going to have to get out there and take a stand. I'm not saying, oh, I love Republicans or I love this or whatever it is. Not saying that. I'm saying take a stand on your approach to the niche that you serve and why you're the best for it and go own it.

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Well, that's just right. A lot of people consider, when I talk to them about purpose, they think, oh, well, you mean like a nonprofit or we have to save the world, right? That's not what that means.

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I'm not on the front lines of solving climate change or social injustice, but I do believe in helping support those who are and want to have a greater impact in the world and helping them develop their purpose, their mission, their strategy. And it could be as intimate as improving the lives of your team and your employees or elevating the standard of quality of products and services you offer to your community. I mean, it doesn't have to be anything big or existential or grandiose. Purpose can be something very close to home and very intimate. But brands are still, and entrepreneurs are still kind of hesitant to share that. They think vulnerability is weakness, and I tend to disagree. I think people are buying on emotion first and logic second to back it up. So people are no longer buying it. What they would traditionally look at simply for features or benefits or specs. It's an identity, right. How does this person or this business or their product or service align with my values, and how does that help me achieve my goals, elevating my status or whatever? I'm seeking to overcome my problems. And you got to get vulnerable to do that.

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Yeah, well, exactly. Just back up a second, too, because I know we jumped into it. How did you get your company started and how did you land in this space?

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Great question. I think it was a matter of being a little bit of a round peg in a square hole, working for previous companies, corporations where I wasn't feeling fully fulfilled by the work that I was doing. A little bit of stubbornness, perhaps, which I think a lot of entrepreneurs feel, hey, I can do a little bit better, right, than what I'm seeing out there in the marketplace. I don't come from a branding and marketing background. I come from a filmmaking background, storytelling. And I always knew that I loved the ability of story to influence people's hearts and minds and emotions. And I think the same is whether you do it for film and tv or whether you do it for brands. And so taking that same methodology and that same passion for storytelling into brands, really just beginning to, quite frankly, it was saying yes to a lot of different new projects I hadn't done before and learning as I go, very bootstrap, grassroots sort of mentality to build my business, but very quickly learned that this is not rocket science. If anything, we need to simplify and clarify the messages businesses are telling to be able to better reach their customers. So that's kind of my path with a little bit out of feeling the need to honor a greater purpose and a greater calling of what I wanted to do in the world.

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Even when you sell to a company, you're selling to a group of people and there's an emotional maybe connection that allows the next piece. But you're going to need business logic processes in place to sell companies, because everyone's got to defend their jobs and groupthink and all the things that happen with that. How important though, either it be, you're selling right to another human or to a group, to a company. Is personal brand tied to your corporate brand? Even if maybe you don't own the company, if you're the company owner and you're looking down at your people that are out there promoting, how important is the personal brand story in the whole mix of just branding?

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I think it's so intertwined, and I work with a lot of ceos, founders, heads of companies, that we start with our personal brand kind of first and foremost. And it really does help inspire a lot of the brand use case. When you go on LinkedIn, for example, we're not necessarily following or engaging with kind of the business brand pages. We're engaging with the individual on behalf of that business or that brand. Right? So obviously a person on behalf of a brand, whether it's the business owner or a salesperson or anyone, we want them to be their best brand ambassadors. So it's important to get your own internal team and of course yourself to buy into. What is that purpose? What is that vision? If your own team members and your own people aren't kind of espousing that same goal, that same mission, that same drive, it's going to fall flat in terms of your customers. But you need to put your own personal spin on it. Why does it matter to you? Right to you? What gives you joy and passion for the work that you do? So I think building a personal brand is paramount today and you see a lot of people doing it. And I don't mean becoming an influencer, I mean just having a point of view and being able to articulate and maybe expand.

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Just because I think this comes up a lot and it'll be probably fast forward three years, these answers might be like, duh, but tell me where AI and technology maybe are enabling and hurting in branding.

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Yeah, look, I think AI is doing quite a few different wonderful things, but in the right hands, and I think that's key. Right. In the right context, in the right use cases, it can be a great tool to help you get over that sort of blank page fear. What do I write, how do I say it? Doing that initial research. It can curate some really good initial kind of jump starting information for you. But keep in mind that's kind of a regurgitation of kind of the commonplace language, rhetoric, information that everybody has access to. So you can't just leave it at that. You have to be able to shape it with your own sensibilities, your own personality, your own voice. So using it as kind of a baseline, as kind of a rough draft, if you will, whether it's generating content or copy is totally fine, but it can't end there. You need to breathe life into it. AI is not going, I don't care which platform you use, and I've tried a lot, it's not going to get you over that hurdle. That's really speaking from a truly humanistic, individual level on a one to one basis, which is how you need to communicate today, whether it's with a colleague, a peer, a boss, consumer, all of it.

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Yeah, and I've said this before, what you don't realize is the gap between people who already knew what they were doing and you, you don't realize how much better, you know, people are better at it than you. But all you realize now when you're using these technologies is that your perceived goodness or how great you are at something has gone up tremendously quickly. And you're like, because you're looking at the perspective of how I was, and if you're no better at it, you're just using AI to kind of do it faster or kind of improve it. You are getting exponentially behind the people who already knew what they were doing because now they could do so much more with it. Right. And you don't have that perspective of now I'm getting so much better. And you wonder why your content's not good and why your brand is not taking off or you're becoming influencers because you're not good enough where you work, because you haven't really done the hard work of what we described earlier, which is, what is it you're doing? What niche do you serve? Where is your mission around something that people can get behind as opposed to just spewing out a bunch of things? And I'll give you a personal example, so instantly relevant. We start off, we did too much, we served too many, and we did it all because we're an agency. And I was like, about a year and a half ago here in December of 2023, it's almost two years ago, after our first year of doing that, I said, you know what, 99% of our customers are coming via LinkedIn. We really know LinkedIn. And I was trying to get my head around, can I just niche around LinkedIn as a starting point? Actually, as a business, I was like, at the very least starting point, I was like, you know what? It's 720 some million users on LinkedIn. I think that's probably a safe bet. And so we did that. We just said, like, over the next, the year after that, which is 2022, we just niched in. We said, hey, let's figure out LinkedIn. Perfect. Let's come up with the systems. We did that in 2023, and it being a fantastic year because all that work in 2022 of customer interactions and niching down when we did that, everything that we do behind the scenes websites and email, that blew up, that got much better because we fixed on what we do first, which is people come to us to stop guessing on LinkedIn. So when you see this in other brands, do you have any examples like that where you're like, hey, they did this because I think that helps people visualize. Is it just bullshit or does it really work? And I know for personally it's for us, but that might sound self serving, what have you.

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No, I mean, I'm in the same boat. Me, Mike, kind of went to the same course. When I started out, it was serving just about anyone and everyone, right? And we were getting over diversified. Just because we could doesn't mean we should. So I was suffering from a little bit of an identity crisis around. The business was driving me and us versus us driving the business based on what clients and referrals were coming in. And I get it, when you're starting a new business, sometimes you have to say yes to things that aren't perfectly aligned. You kind of keep the lights on, get cash revenue in the door. But for me, it took a real wake up call almost hitting rock bottom in terms of, we went from almost our highest peak in terms of revenue and clients to almost being wiped out within a series of three to six months. And instead of kind of shutting it down, I had to take a look in the mirror and say, okay, what are the types of clients and projects that give me the most joy and I feel have the most impact for our clients? Right. And that's kind of where this purpose driven sort of mindset mentality came from. Now, it's not exclusive to a certain vertical or niche or platform like you mentioned, but it is a bit of a qualifier, right? Entrepreneurs that are wanting to do good and do well, not just make a quick buck. And so that really quickly helped manifest and attract and qualify or disqualify better, kind of more divine aligned clients that I enjoy working with, deliver better results for, and I think are just kind of ambassadors of that pay it forward mentality. How can we help others in our industry kind of do the same? But yeah, I mean, don't wait for your business to kind of hit rock bottom to make that shift. Be proactive in terms of who you want to serve and what niche they exist in.

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I'll take example from ours. So I like to do these examples in my own journey. It's just kind of like when I did in the book, right? It's like you learn things along the line. I wrote about it. So a year ago, at the end of kind of figuring out what we were going to do for 2023, knowing that we were going to niche down, I looked at our current and we were our highest monthly revenue at that point. We were growing every month. I looked at it in November going, I think we're going to lose a bunch of customers because these customers have this kind of mentality, like they were buying for these reasons. And I felt like it was a fickle group that was just a lot of them were going to leave and the ones that didn't leave were buying a slightly different product. It was much more aligned to what we're doing. Sure enough, we lost like 80% of our customers between November and the end of the year because they were all going to try something new, which was more, not longer term, but also we didn't have the service or product to kind of say, hey, we're going to take you on that journey. So what you described was happy you send the investor letter out, whatever it is that says, hey, listen, we have our highest revenues. All of a sudden you're like, oh, January 1 hits and you're like, I'm so glad I have a line of credit to pay people. Um, because you're like. But you're so you make these pivots in the middle of a really good sales cycle and you, and you, you, you, you know, and then you come back the next year and you doubled revenue and forex profitability. Right. And that's what we did. And the customers are happy. I don't want to say stickier, they're just getting more value out of it. And the price points has a higher investment. Higher value, though. But we changed the customer base because I knew we had to, because I didn't want to. Every November, December, have to go chase building a whole year's worth of customers just to lose them in November, December, because that's their mentality was fiscal as opposed to three years out. Five years out. Yeah.

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No, I mean, we had to change.

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Our brand around that too, to tie it back, because we had to be the brand more strategy company, the system you put in place, not the lead you're going to get.

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Yeah, look, and I'm sure that's obviously stabilized your company for sustainable growth.

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Well, as much as you can stabilize as an entrepreneur, you know how it is. You cry.

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Yeah, exactly. It's still the roller coaster.

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Are they all leaving? I don't know. We're almost through December. Can we get to January?

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Yeah, but it gets you away from the whole Pareto principle conundrum where it's like, okay, 80% of your revenue is coming from 20% of your clients. Right, okay, well, great. Well, if you lose one or two clients, you take a big hit. If anything, it's kind of leveling the playing field so that hopefully it sounds like you have better expertise and understanding and knowledge of the core singular focus that you do focus on now, and therefore it's more robust and foolproof. It's not kind of constantly reaching for the next new thing that we think our customers need, it's how we can best serve our customers.

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Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the lesson here as entrepreneurs, listen, is I still struggle with trying the next thing to get us to get bigger customers. We've had to go take what we've taken our initial tip of spear, which is LinkedIn, and said, yes, here's the other things. These are the components. Should we talk about bringing those in? Which is a risk for our company because we were there already once and I didn't enjoy it. But I also know that's the place to the much bigger customer and the higher value served. So we're going to go in 2024 and try that market again using the tip of spear backing into the value statements. And if it goes well, that's great, because that's when you'll get much higher revenues, better service for customers, and then, like you said, destabilizing because you can have multiple larger customers with it. But as you look at your own business, sometimes you got to pull back because you're just not ready. And I can sell. I got it out there and I'm like, oh, wait, shit, we're delivering that like crap. That's killing my brand. So we stopped doing it.

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Yeah, well, I think you're operating from a position of strength, right? A stronger kind of foundation in which to then have a clear identity, have a clear value proposition and kind of driver where, yeah, it does probably make sense to explore different areas that still honor that same commitment to your clients. You got to innovate, right? You can't just remain stagnant, but it sounds like you're operating from a position of strength versus doing a jack of all trades. Math, revenue. I'm doing a variety of things.

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Just chasing revenue.

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Right. Chasing revenue.

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We've all been.

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I bring that up from our discussion because what I identified. I think the lesson here is, though, we were selling bigger deals, we were struggling to deliver them, and it resulted in what would start off as good relationships. A few got burnt, not because we did something wrong, we just couldn't deliver what we said. And it was because we just weren't ready. And even coming back into that market a little bit at the end of this year and next year, it's a risk, but I know how to manage it a lot better by expectations and getting better partners for some of the delivery pieces. So the lesson being is recognize when you're wrecking your brand, not only just for the business a little bit or personal, you're chipping away at it. Stop that. And one of the examples I tell people is stop automating your outreach with sequencing because people are associating you personally and your business with spam and you're draining your personal brand at that point. What's your take on that? I know I set that up, and you can argue with me on that a little bit, but if you like, but don't.

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Yeah, I'm a firm believer that I don't like to deploy any sort of marketing tactics that I wouldn't want to receive myself. Right. And I'm getting more than ever before, just cold blind, impersonal and some of them are even, they're trying, they're a.

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Little bit personal, though.

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They're falsely personal.

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Double upon your LinkedIn profile is my favorite. It's like almost like I was breathing out the window of your home right after we walking by.

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I see that you worked for x and now you do y, right? It's like, okay, great. You put kind of a customized filter in there. You let AI do its thing, but at the same point, I can't tell you how many emails I open with. Hey, quick question for you. Right, like the most commonly overused entry point and yet people are still using it. So all that to say is I'm all about simplification. We're getting bombarded with more marketing messages than ever before and it's all white noise and our brains are wired to filter that out. Right. You're not going to penetrate with those types of messages. You're going to get filtered out and like you said, be kind of considered and treat and labeled as spam. So how can you do more with less? How can you be a bit more intentional with the platforms, the channels, communications, the messages that you do deploy to a more targeted niche, tribe sort of category and audience? Yeah, it's frustrating because it's not going to let up anytime soon. I think everyone's jumping on the bandwagon of mass cold email or SMS outreach, spamming sort of tactics because they feel like they have to keep up. But if you can be more surgical with that, I think you can have a lot more success.

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Well, exactly. So we use automation email, but it's from people we've already interacted with. We have an SMS program coming out, but it's going to be people we've interacted with.

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Great. It's not cold. They've never heard from you before, right?

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I'm okay with a cold email outreach if it works to some degree. It depends on what you're selling. I would actually tell you in all cases, if you can do it, walk the walk. So if you're selling whatever, like SEO services, get people through SEO. If you're selling leadership coaching through motivation and stuff like that, get content that motivated me. Do things that sell your brand through what you do.

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Walk the walk with it. And I think then you're at least defendable of why you reached out. Because they had interest and stuff. I know we coach people how to do this stuff. That's the idea is create relevance for a very specific niche of people. This time. I always like to let people, the guests, guys tell me who should contact you and why. What would be a next step? If they really like someone's like, I want to know, get to the contact part. I want someone to come help me with my brand as a strategy. What do they do? Give them a little just next step of what to go do.

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Yeah, man. If I'll tell you the pain points at any stage of the journey as an entrepreneur or business owner, we are kind of feeling stuck. We're feeling overwhelmed, we're feeling stagnant. We're not getting that sustainable growth. We haven't seen results from other marketers or marketing agencies that we've worked with. Right. There's a little bit of that breach of trust. We need to kind of get back to kind of our foundation, our core, or we're not even feeling inspired by what we do anymore. We've lost our way. That's kind of a signal to say, let's have a deeper conversation. So reaching out on LinkedIn, I'd love to have a conversation. You can check us out on our website, We've got some great resources that everything from templates and blueprints of how to build that brand identity, as well as making the business case and ROI for commitment to brand purpose. But every client is unique. I just love to kind of understand where you're at in your journey, where you want to be, and let's craft that kind of pathway to get there.

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I love it. In your own journey, I always ask kind of a form of this question of what's one regret or something you wish you would have known if you were talking back to yourself. Someone's listening. They're like you, but they're backed up two, three years from now. What do you tell them?

0:28:19,000 --> 0:29:25,000
It's a great question. I wish I had more of a guide or a coach or a strategist, the way I kind of serve and operate by my side along the way. I started my company as a solopreneur, didn't have a partner in it. Right. And when you're doing that for the first time, there's a lot of guesswork. You make a lot of mistakes and missteps and wasted time and money and resources, even if you're trusting your intuition. Having someone who is seasoned, who has been there, that has worked with other businesses before and seen those same mistakes, helping you avoid them, I think having that guide, shepherd, whatever you want to call it, along the journey from the earliest point forward is something I wish I would have had and given myself but I think that's also why I love doing that for others today is I like helping people succeed beyond where they think they are capable or making connections that they don't clearly see for themselves. Whether you call it a coach or a consultant, you need a partner in the game to be even a sounding board for you as you go about.

0:29:25,000 --> 0:29:39,000
This journey and knowing that, what are you doing for the future? Then it's another kind of question I always ask is you're at time zero once again. I'm sure you realize that more so than you did when you first started, but what are you doing now? Taking that advice for yourself?

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Great question. So I've got a few different sort of guides, coaches, therapists that I work with, honestly.

0:29:47,000 --> 0:29:49,000
Therapist, plural?

0:29:49,000 --> 0:29:50,000
Yeah. No, it's like a whole.

0:29:50,000 --> 0:29:55,000
No wonder you need revenue. You got a lot of bills.

0:29:55,000 --> 0:30:45,000
Honestly. I'm a big proponent of personal development and self growth. So there's a lot of work that I need to do for myself, my own mental health, my own sort of well being to be a better husband, father, brother, son, friend, because I do believe that builds a better foundation to be a better business leader and entrepreneur. So the personal growth is one area and then the professional growth, working with a little bit of kind of a business coach that, again, I wouldn't call them your typical executive coach. It's someone that straddles the line between a little bit of soulfulness and spirituality. That's just my flavor. I believe in investing so much of my personal self into my business. And so you got to find your dream team, if you will, that's going to help guide you along the way, because otherwise it can be pretty isolating and pretty lonely.

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Yeah, it will be at times. And I know I cover that in my book of you're surrounded by people who just see that you're an entrepreneur and you're busting your ass and it looks like fun or they don't get sometimes the internal struggles you'll go through and how even, let's say, with a spouse, right. Their needs and their pieces of your time, which you certainly give typically as an entrepreneur, if you can. But sometimes the money lags, right. Even my kids, I hear, is when's daddy's business going to take off? And I'm thinking, even if it takes off, I'm not going to be paying myself any really more than I am because you need operating capital, you need investment capital, you need the ability to create a business that's going to be here ten years from now. So you're two and a half in revenue. I'll tell you right now, don't think unless you're a unicorn, you get lucky. Just get your head right and get everyone around you right that you're going to be lean because the back end of that is a 1012 20 x payoff relative to where you were from, time, money in the systems. Those are the isolating pieces that people just, they look at work at 40 hours of what they do in their jobs. And I'm just talking like spouses, anybody. It's different when you're an entrepreneur. It's different because you have four or five things. You have to keep going in parallel, and branding is one of them, but the others affect how people perceive you. And that is all brand. That's your brand, with your family, with your customers, with your friends. Like I said, like you said, I'm sorry. The foundation matters. It really matters because it stabilizes people's perception of you on every level that you're trying to build for yourself.

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Yeah. Think of it as your core, right. This is being an entrepreneur. It's a marathon, it's not a sprint.

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And a lot of people like to, like you said, get caught up or lost in these short term quick fixes to really longer term issues and pain points that they never fully resolve. Build your core. Build your foundation first. You are going to succeed in that longer kind of duration, that marathon, because it is as an entrepreneur, you're always on, right? You're juggling multiple things at once, personally, professionally, and again, it's getting harder than ever before to kind of cut through that white noise. So work on your core. Work on your personal foundation, your personal identity, your brand, your why. It's going to basically create that resilience for getting through those good or not so good times in your path, in.

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Your journey, you know, a humor alert coming here. So here's some satire.

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Bring it.

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I've ran one marathon and I know, I'm not sure the analogy is right. And I'll tell you why. Because at the end of the marathons, we see most people shit themselves. And it's an accepted practice as part of running. Like, they just kind of. It happens. It didn't happen to me, to be clear. So I'm not sure because you still finish.

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Just don't shit yourself.

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Yeah, just prepare that. Maybe don't have that cliff bar at the beginning of the race because you're going to pay for it 4 hours or so later, just so you know. All right, I'm going to call here.

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Sorry, I think that's the.

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I was laughing at my own joke. Everyone's like, yeah, how to not shit.

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Yourself as an entrepreneur, right?

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Don't shit yourself. It is a marathon and it's okay. It's okay if you do.

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Actually, still, it's okay if you do.

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Just pull it aside and just don't.

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Prepare better for the next race.

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Right. Sometimes, I mean, anyway, not going to go down that route. Just google it. Might not like what you see. I've taken a tangent and lost thought. All right, listen, let's do a little hot seat. I always ask. These are kind of like little things you can recommend to entrepreneurs. Some fun questions, but one of the first questions I must ask is just what technologies are enabling your business right now?

0:34:25,000 --> 0:35:33,000
Good question. Gosh. I mean, I think project management is one of the biggest things when you've got kind of a small but lean team. I think having organizations and systems to support that at scale is critical, right? Having standard operating procedures for how we onboard clients, how we deliver on different services and products, and having kind of a master sort of. My coordinator is amazing. She's kind of OCD with it as I tend to be making sure nothing kind of gets lost in the cracks. Having project management systems, whether it's ClickUp or Asana or a variety of those, I think that we do a good job in terms of, I think having kind of an outsource kind of. It's not platform technology necessarily, but sort of having a great robust, vetted team of outsourced contractors that we can go to that doesn't put too much pressure on constant overhead, but allows us to scale nimbly when things do get busier. I would say those are probably the two most critical things for our business, is keeping us organized and focused when shit hits the fan.

0:35:33,000 --> 0:36:21,000
Yeah, no, you need scale. So the outsourcing partners and that comes back down to this is a key thing, tying it back to original ideas of branding and your niche, get your core team around that and then leverage partners for the ancillary add on values that you can do. So if you're really good at branding and let's say from the logo design to colors, to this messaging to the mission, like all of it, hire someone else to go do the social media content creation for you as an agency or as an owner or whatever it is, SEO. Also, if you're an agency owner, in this case, be careful building too big of a business that you're too thin on because thin, wide things break. Say it that way. Right? Deep kind of core does not. It stays pretty tall or stands pretty firm.

0:36:21,000 --> 0:36:23,000
Yeah, absolutely.

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What's a recommended business book? What's a must read?

0:36:27,000 --> 0:37:03,000
Great question. There's a great book that I'm reading. Well, look, I'm a big fan of Marty Newmeyer. So I think in terms of branding and brand identity, he does a great job in disrupting kind of the expected or status quo. And he's one that says a brand, it's not a logo. Right. It's what your customer believes it to. You know, brand Gap is a seminal book. Brand Zag is another great one about differentiation and disruption in kind of a crowded marketplace. I would check out Marty Newmeyer's stuff. He's kind of a bit of a guru and a godfather when it comes to brand strategy.

0:37:03,000 --> 0:37:09,000
And then LinkedIn, who do you recommend to follow? Who's a person you kind of like? You got to follow this person.

0:37:09,000 --> 0:37:53,000
Yeah, good question. Obviously, big proponent, fan of Simon Sinek and kind of the paradigm of why I'm a big fan of. Honestly, what I do for LinkedIn is I'll spend five to 10 minutes each day and I will try to kind of act like a ghost. Like not scrub my network, but go to contacts of mine that I love and trust and know and I've worked with and who they're engaging with. And I'm constantly kind of collecting new and different insights that way. So that's kind of another one. I don't know. It's funny, I should have this in the tip of my tongue because I spent a decent amount of time on LinkedIn, but Thomas Helprich, there you go.

0:37:53,000 --> 0:37:55,000
There you actually.

0:37:55,000 --> 0:38:16,000
No, but honestly, that's how we originally connected is. I did see a lot of your content, and I think you do absolutely great stuff on there. I mean, I know you're a leader on that platform, but you share a lot of great wisdom, insights, knowledge, expertise that is tangible. Right. And doesn't feel like pitchy salesy. It's you are paying forward your expertise to others that are trying to succeed in the marketplace.

0:38:16,000 --> 0:38:21,000
That's pretty kind of you. Yeah. I can't tag myself in this post now, just so you know. I'm already.

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Do it, man. This will creep on my behalf.

0:38:24,000 --> 0:39:34,000
It's funny because I appreciate you saying that, but I will tell you, in our own content, just self reflective. I always feel like it's too pitchy and I'm always very conscious, like, hey, listen, I don't think we're talking to our reader enough. I feel like we're explaining things and we're giving lists. I struggle with that because also there's the vanity metrics that we don't measure. And you're going to feel this too, anybody who's out there. But I know that LinkedIn is different. It's putting it in front of the right people. They've gotten better about less impressions, less views, more impactful to people who really want it. And then I meet people that are friends of mine, like, oh, I love your content on LinkedIn. I'm thinking, I've never seen you like one of them. And I'm like, I know, but so the algorithms have changed to some degree because I'm looking at friends of mine who have a half million followers and people I know, I've gotten know from LinkedIn. We've done lots of meetings together or podcasts, and they're getting like, on their best post, let's say 1000 likes, but with a half a million followers, that doesn't seem like a lot. I think the perspective you're getting, 1020 and you have 10,000 people, you're probably doing okay and it's probably relevant. So I appreciate you saying that. I'll tell the teams that help create my content that they're doing good.

0:39:34,000 --> 0:39:35,000

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I think sometimes it gets a little bit meh. But that's all.

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I mean, look, I'm my biggest critic as well. It's the same thing. And so honestly, some of the best feedback I've ever had are people that have reached out and said, hey, I love your content. Do you mind if I give you some feedback? And I'm like, yes, please. And they'll give honest and brutal feedback around, hey, the message was right, but the delivery was off. Or I think it was a little bit too kind of preachy in this area. I don't think people do that enough. And I think it's a really valuable feedback mechanism that we need to do more as entrepreneurs for each other and not look at his competition and say, I'm not going to follow him because he's in my business. It's, hey, I dig what you're doing. Here's maybe some areas that I've tried that might work for you or here as a potential consumer, here's what I would love to see differently. We just got to be able to share and open up and be vulnerable.

0:40:25,000 --> 0:41:18,000
Exactly. So two people I've interacted quite a bit and gotten to know is Corey Warfield. He's about a half a million followers on LinkedIn. Very positive. Like, I love interact with him. He's brutally honest with me on this. That and sounds negative. I'm like, I'm just being like, my humor is not negative. It's like satire humor. It's jab at things that are obvious. And another guy's Nat Berman, who's kind of like about a year or so into his adventure. And he does really cool content with fun t shirts by a, um, his tends to be a little more negative and chipped on the shoulder stuff, but that's him. But if you work with him as a coach, he's kind of like a no bullshit, get shit done, stop wasting time kind of guy. That's just him. I love those two kind of guys for that, maybe. Last question. What's the number one entrepreneurial trait people need, or do you find? I would say, what's the top trait that entrepreneurs have to have?

0:41:18,000 --> 0:42:20,000
Great question, I think, beyond, if you're leading a team, you're a founder, you're CEO, et cetera. I think empathy is big, and being able to really just kind of empathize with your team, your people, your customers, and what they're feeling, what they're needing, and having an attunement to that, to kind of be a better leader. But I would also say it's just in general, entrepreneurs listening. We all like to really just talk a lot and feel that we need to have all of the answers right every time for every situation. And that's really not the case, honestly. I'm on a quest to try to just ask better questions, more questions. And I think listening is absolutely key in terms of being able to have, like you said earlier in the podcast, a more intimate conversation with somebody. You're not talking at somebody, you're talking with them. And I believe that does build a lasting relationship. So listening is something that I think I, and many of us, need to be doing a better job at.

0:42:20,000 --> 0:42:23,000
Two years, one mouth, right? You got it in that order for a reason.

0:42:23,000 --> 0:42:24,000

0:42:24,000 --> 0:43:10,000
And I will agree with you. So I know a chapter in my book is customer feedback is gold, and it truly is if you truly listen to your customer, not even just what they're saying, but maybe what they're tippettoing around things you kind of maybe know. Asking more questions is probably the best sales technique you could ever have, the best meetings I've ever had. I've truly been interested in what they're saying, and I just ask questions, ask questions. At the end of it, I wanted to cover with you what you do. I'm like, oh, tell you what? I'll send you a proposal and they just sign it. You're like, oh, great. And I actually never went through what I did. And it's like, how did that happen? And why can't that happen more often? But you hear them, you're not just asking legitimate questions. Because I didn't care if I bought anything. I just wanted to know about what they were doing. It's funny how that works sometimes with unintentional sales. You're like, oh, I backed into that. All right. Didn't mean to.

0:43:10,000 --> 0:43:32,000
Yeah, don't try too hard to kind of fit in every great pitch point or quality in the conversation. And it's not just I say listening, but it's hearing what they're saying, right? Oh, I'm listening to you. I'm nodding my head, I'm doing the gestures. But no, I hear you, and I both articulate back to you what it is I think you're struggling with or how I can potentially help you.

0:43:32,000 --> 0:44:21,000
I'll give you a tip. Not all the meetings, but some of the meetings we record. And I'll put that otter into GPT and ask, how did I do on salesy? Did I listen? Did I address? Did I talk? Like, what could I have done? What did I miss? And you can get feedback from GPT of what the tonality of what it was and does, and you can, I love that sales and what questions should have asked, and that's a good use of AI, is look at this interaction and what should have I have asked to have connected with this customer better from a business. And if you do that, you'll get better quickly. And I've done that, and it helps because I already asked them questions because I'll feel like an interaction is going and I'll be like, I'll ask a question that I should have asked the last meeting. And you'll be watched people. Like, it's a good question. Kind of like we're doing right now, Chase.

0:44:21,000 --> 0:44:24,000
Indeed, I'm hooked.

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I'll tell you something else I'm working on that I'm failing at miserably. I don't drink coffee anymore, and by the worst is I decaf. And I don't remember which was which. And I took the drink of the.

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Wrong one, and that was, wow.

0:44:36,000 --> 0:44:45,000
That's why I started coughing halfway through this podcast is I talk fast and I mean, I am slowed down now.

0:44:45,000 --> 0:44:46,000

0:44:46,000 --> 0:45:11,000
So when I get going, you got to keep up. And so my goal for 2024 is not so much questions, it's more pauses and it's slowing down and asking and being more confident and less speech fast. And I tell you, it's so hard to do when you're wired to go. So that's my fault. That's my.

0:45:11,000 --> 0:45:16,000
I'll add that to my list of to Dos for 2024 and beyond. I think that's a great one as well.

0:45:16,000 --> 0:45:41,000
It's hard. I mean, when you're wired a certain way and it helps you with some people, but it kills you with the ones who just don't do it. They look at that Energy as, ugh. They pull back from it. It's kind of hard to. Anyway, that being said, here is the final question. Are you ready? Have you ever been promoted?

0:45:41,000 --> 0:45:43,000

0:45:43,000 --> 0:45:51,000
You can join the club. You're in the club. I forgot to ask that the last, like, three interviews because it probably doesn't actually matter, but it's a good way to kind of close out no.

0:45:51,000 --> 0:45:59,000
But truthfully, the answer is no. And I think that's what led me to a path of entrepreneurship. And I've never promoted myself. If anything, I've demoted myself.

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Right. By the way, if you haven't been promoted or you're trying to find a job, I'll give you a little tip. Either become an entrepreneur, which is what I encourage you to do anyway, or don't put founder, CEO on your title and LinkedIn because you won't get hired. Just put the title of what you want next. It could be your own company, that's fine. But director of something? Otherwise, you're screwing yourself out of w two employment. As somebody who's unhirable, I'm telling you, that's the way I do it. Make sure that I'm not hired. But if you want to get promoted, don't listen to me. I'll just help you become an entrepreneur. Thank you, by the way, so much for coming. Listen, last time, as we kind of say goodbye here a little bit, how do they get a hold of you? And who should get a hold of you?

0:46:36,000 --> 0:46:49,000
Well, LinkedIn, right? Our favorite platform. Message me on LinkedIn, Chase Friedman. And then, of course, you can take a look at some of our work and our impact and capabilities on our website,

0:46:49,000 --> 0:46:57,000
Yeah. And that's I n Chase Friedman. And the last part is Frieda. No.

0:46:57,000 --> 0:47:01,000
D-M-A-N-F-R-I-E-D-M-A-N. Thank you for spelling it, though.

0:47:01,000 --> 0:47:08,000
That's good. I e is the key in that. That's right. Like free or I don't know how else you'd spell it.

0:47:08,000 --> 0:47:10,000
Honestly, there's a handful of us out.

0:47:10,000 --> 0:47:16,000
There, I. E. Freedman with an ie. There you go. Thank you, by the way, for coming on today.

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I appreciate you having me.

0:47:17,000 --> 0:47:58,000
Everybody's still listening. If you made it to this point, you get five dad points, which means you can spend them anywhere you want. My kids have millions of these. They're still trying to figure out how to spend them. You get five as well. They're redeemable only by direct message on LinkedIn. But thank you so much for listening. And if this was your first show, thank you for making it this far. And if you've listened in the past, continue to we got more guests coming. I want to help you unleash your entrepreneur through other entrepreneur stories. Lessons learned reach out to Chase if you have any questions around brand strategy. And until next time, thank you again for listening toNever Been Promoted. Go unleash your entrepreneur.

0:47:58,000 --> Unknown
Thanks for listening toNever Been Promoted with Thomas Helfrich. Make sure to check the show notes for our guest contact information and any relevant links. Connect with Thomas personally at

Introduction and Welcome
Building a Brand with Purpose
The Importance of Asking Tough Questions
Differentiating Your Brand
Niche Marketing and Brand Strategy
Personal and Corporate Brand Integration
The Role of Technology in Branding
Building Brand Identity and Growth
Looking to the Future
Closing Thoughts and Contact Information