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Welcome to the next (2nd) episode. Colton sits down with brand strategist and musician, Lindsay Jamieson.
All right. You ready for us to walk in and do the thing? A nice English gentleman. I promise I won't do accents the whole time.
Okay. I probably won't notice.
The way that I explain Lindsay Jamieson to others, I say, "Hey, when you go in the gas station, you see, oh, those coolers of drinks and all the candy bars and things, Lindsay did about half of branding for the brands that you'll see and about half of the vehicles that could have driven you to that gas station." Lindsay is a branding guy with an enviable rap sheet, bigger than any full-blown agency I know. Since he's worked with Nike, and Kellogg's, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Toyota, Volkswagen, and about 60 brands that all roll up under Coca-Cola. He also has that enviable British accent where everything he says sounds sophisticated and clever. Which is, I mean, for him actually true. He was the first person who said that consumers create and act out narratives about themselves and they use brands to prop up their stories. I think a lot of marketers would be a lot better at their jobs if they heard the Lindsay Jamieson gospel.
So we've been friends for a few years now. Then I think we pieced it together later on that I'd actually seen you on stage years ago at Nashville's Dancing in the District when you were playing as Ben Folds' drummer.
And I actually came up to you afterward and complimented you. I don't know if you remember it or not, but I mean obviously you do not-
I was in a haze, it was my first gig with Ben Folds.
To flash forward so I can build the Lindsay Jamieson timeline. After you left music as your main gig, you then made a hard right turn with no college degree, no formal training in advertising, branding, is that right?
Actually, no, weirdly enough, I did get a degree in marketing, even when marketing was a new word. I had to explain to people what a degree in marketing was about and I couldn't really tell them even after the degree.
Do you care to just break down the model that's in your head for how brands should approach their approach to consumers?
I mean, at the end of the day, a brand is nothing more than a perception that somebody else holds in their head about you or your brand. And so you can't own a brand because you can't own a perception. So the only thing you can do is to shape, some people would say attempt to manipulate. It's understanding where people are at and wanting them to go, "Okay, I want them to perceive this as a salve or something useful in their own story so that they can get on with their story." A good example of this is, probably the easiest example for all marketers, I think in a way is Apple. It changed everybody's lives who was susceptible or willing to be changed by it. You have at the top "think different", and then every single touchpoint. So the retail experience, you went into an Apple Store, you've never been in a store like that in your life. The product itself was different, completely different. It worked in a different way. The packaging, you know, the unpackaging... So that's a perfect example of a very, very strong positioning idea that just filtered all of the way through every single touchpoint about Apple.
The forest for the trees where people are working in their company or brand for so long and they're used to their own jargon and features, et cetera. It's the reason why Apple came out sharing stories about people using their products while everybody else is talking about the difference, the features, between an LCD screen, an OLED. Do you know the pixel count? Do you know how fast the processor is? They didn't talk about any of that. The only thing that comes out there is showing how it's making their life better, easier, and more fun by not listing a single feature, just showing it in action.
So I've heard you talk in the past about the healthy tension that needs to exist for a brand to have a good story.
I've been working in that world of story relating to brand, building brand narratives with the consumer at the center of the story. I mean, I think the bit that a lot of people confuse is they think branding and stories. It's like, "Oh, let's tell you a story about Jack Daniels back in the day and Levi's did this in the past." And it's not about that, it's about building a story about the consumer now, where they are at the center, they're the protagonist of their own story and that if you're lucky or you get permission, essentially you can come in as a brand to play an accomplice role in that story.
I read it on your website, what it takes for a brand to become a verb.
If you go back to that idea that the consumer is the protagonist of their own story and so they're really getting on with their lives and they really don't care about your brand. If they see some genuine value or if you can come in and change my life like Apple literally did. It's like, here's a computer, you can use it cause it, you just go like that and it works. And he's just like, thanks very much. I needed one of those. Thank you Apple. And although Apple didn't become a verb, but it enters your life in a way that we will... We need an Apple moment in this situation.
People want that thing to happen to them. What Apple did verb wise, I don't know how you apple-fy my brand, but if people thought to say that that's what it would be.
And it would be in line with Kleenex and Xerox and Roller Blade and Frisbees. I don't know why I'm thinking of things that I used in the nineties, but you were a big roller blader if I remember.
I believe you bladed in here.
Yes, I bladed in the back, put my shoes on, came back to the front and pretended to-
You'll see it in the B-roll. It'll come out.
So, everybody gets the option to bring what is a prop for the shoot, but an actual thing of significance in your life. I would very much like to hear the story about the prop you brought.
This is a picture of my youngest son Emerson and the reason why, he's 22 now, but I brought him up to be sort of very aware of brands at an early age. So when he was three, he was pointing out Mercury logos on the backs of cars, which I was quite proud 'cause I'd just worked on Mercury and I now own a Mercury. And he was pointing out things that he thought I liked and so he would say, "Daddy, daddy, cool car, cool car." And I'd look over and it was just this beaten up, bit of crap, some early seventies, rusty. And he's like, "Cool car daddy." And I'm like, "Yes, you got it." But he gets very passionate about these sort of things, which I suppose warms my heart in a slightly perverted way.
Here's the option. So here's what you get. Yeah. So you have three options. You can choose between Mario Pez or Donkey Kong, or you can go with a loose gobstopper.
Well, you see that's quite interesting. These have been in your pocket. Not that I distrust your pocket.
You don't like loose pocket candy?
I'm not averse to it. I'm probably just actually more drawn to a little Pez moment.
Pick the flavor.
Thank you very much.
I think that's it.
It's nice. Lemon.
Yeah, go with lemon?
It's been a while since I've had one of these.
Is that great? The lemon's pretty lemony.
A little tart?
Yeah. That means something else in English slang, doesn't it?
It does, yeah.
Do we have to censor that?
You calling my wife a tart?
The interview is going splendidly.
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