The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 227

Craig Wilson

The Compass and the Nail

How can you turn customers into loyal fans of your brand? It’s about designing with empathy and customer experience, says Craig Wilson. He’s an entrepreneur, consultant, coach, and author of The Compass and the Nail, is the former lead strategist for consumer marketing for Patagonia and an advisor to such brands as Burton Snowboards and Seventh Generation. Discover the Customer Activation Cycle, the difference between designing from a market opportunity point of view and a empathetic point of view, and the importance of knowing yourself.

About

Get the book, The Compass and the Nail from Amazon here:

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Bio: Craig Wilson is an entrepreneur, consultant, author, and coach. He has founded three businesses, is a three-time NCAA National Champion coach, and a leading authority on loyalty, brand development, and direct marketing, counting some of the world’s most iconic brands in his listing of experience including Kiehl’s, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, prAna Living, Burton Snowboards, and Revolution Living, among others. Craig’s the founder of Compass and Nail and is a sought after speaker, having lectured on the topic of loyalty and advocacy as the basic tenet of business strategy at USC, UCSB, University of Oregon, and Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Graduate School of Business. He’s the co-author of “Creating Advocates,” a peer reviewed study on why consumers become fans of brands. The Compass and the Nail is his first book.

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter:

With us today is Craig Wilson. Craig is an entrepreneur is a consultant. He is an author and a coach. He started several businesses and he spent a number of years at Patagonia, where he was able to take Yvon Chouinard’s principles and ethics and operationalize them into every nook of the organization, which is so much a central piece of who Patagonia is. And that in and of itself is super interesting. He’s developed a model and framework called the brand ecosystem model and when somebody introduced me to him and I thought it’d be really interesting to have him on the show. So Craig, welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast.

Craig:

Thank you. Great to be here.

Peter:

Craig, tell me, let’s just go a little bit into your career, like how you got started in this. I know like, you know, in in the founder story that you’ve sort of, kind of consider yourself, refer to yourself as an empirical anthropologist and we’d love to hear kind of how you got started in this. You know, and I also know you were a stale at college selling coach and kind of curious how you got to where you are.

Craig:

Yeah, me too. Yeah. And unwitting empirical anthropologists, I guess. So I think I have a an intuitive sense for user experience design and that’s where I started in my sailing coaching days. I, I thought when I first started out doing that, that I, I needed to be a really great sailor and be technically excellent and teach everybody techniques and methodologies and how to become better at the craft. And after not doing super great at that for a year or so, I realized that the job of coaches to create a circumstance that the athlete can thrive in. And so I, I re designed everything that I was doing and approach it from that perspective and that seemed to work. And so that’s been, that’s been the thread in all of this from, from way back when, when I was a kid doing that. And I didn’t know that that was a thing. And I didn’t really understand that it was an aspect of me that was a unique perspective or anything until really quite recently, when I looked back on, on the entire trajectory and consider what it is that doing today and how it links all together.

Peter:

So curious Craig about that transition point, like where, you know, there’s this great cartoon, I don’t know if you know it, but where it’s like all these really complicated equations, which is step one. And then step three is all these really complicated equations that leads to the solution. And then step two is then a miracle occurs and you know, it’s a group of scientist or something, you know, I have a question about step two. So I have a question about step two and you know, like you’ve gone from, you know, this sort of technical craft excellence to understanding that you need to create an environment for people to sort of blossom. And I’m curious about what brought you from, from step one to step three.

Craig:

Yeah, that’s a super easy question for me to answer it’s feedback. The, my sailing team told me I was doing a bad job at being a coach and some select team members asked if they could have a different perspective. And, and I also was a baseball player growing up and, and I looked at how my practices as a, as a, as a kid and an athlete and playing baseball was different from the sailing world. And so I started to think about what the, what was happening in the baseball world that was not happening in the sailing world. And really it was breaking it down in a little tiny bite sized chunks, but I didn’t really make that or connect those dots until I was getting feedback that what I was doing was not necessarily helping anybody. So that was, I think that was the key thing.

Craig:

And then again, that’s another thread I’m constantly asking for feedback and then development of the brand ecosystem model has been a very iterative process over a very long period of time. Probably close to 15 to 20 years, I would say of putting things into the world and seeing what happens and then being really, really diligent about paying attention to what is, what people are responding to and setting as much of my own opinion and ego and thinking aside and listening to what’s happening and then going back and puzzling on what the problem is. So on the sailing experience, I, I listened to that feedback and then I looked for other sources to explain to me how it is that I could, I could do that job better. And I looked at my own experiences of baseball athlete, and I looked at the coaching that I’d received in that. And then I became a devout a student of the John wooden coaching philosophy where it’s really about taking creating a circumstance for people to Excel. And if you do that, people will do remarkable things. So that was, that was my little connect, the dots.

Peter:

And, and I mean already, first of all, you must have had a remarkable team of sailors who, you know, at the college level are willing to go up to their coach and go, Hey, you know, it’s wrong. And let me tell you how to be more supportive of our success. You know, like, I don’t know if they, you know, were that clean about it, but, you know,

Craig:

Yeah, it wasn’t that pleasant for sure. But it was, it, it was a remarkable group of people. Actually, we, we moved from being not great to being good and then being great. We put a winning streak together that lasted for about a year and a half. We won three college national championships and lots of the kids on the team were selected all American. And so everybody got their individual goals not everybody, but, you know, the vast majority of people that were setting their own personal goals were, that’s what we were paying attention to. So how is it that we win on an individual level and then also when, as a team and, and weave those things together. So it became became very much a collaborative effort, which is not necessarily my strategic style. I like to go away and figure things out on my own, but in, in, when it comes to execution making sure that that collaboration is, is built into the program is, is part of it. So it was a remarkable experience. It’s still highly influential to me almost every day of my life, I would say.

Peter:

So I could imagine having coached three NCAA national championships wins that you would say, all right, I’ve got this coaching sailing thing, and I’ve gotten pretty good at, and I’m going to continue to do it and expand on it, et cetera. But you left and started a couple of businesses. What, what led you to leave? What led you to go do something?

Craig:

Being broke, I think was a pretty significant influence there being a sailing college sailing coach means that you are also the person that probably raises the funds to pay your salary and, and you run the program as well. It’s a, it’s a bit of a challenge. And I think if I was in that same circumstance today, I, I would probably stick with sailing because sailing has a much more well-established professional network and, and it is possible to make a living at it now. And so that might’ve been a possibility, but back then it was more matter of making a living. And yeah. So the leap, the leap to entrepreneurship

Peter:

Happened and can you briefly share with us what those two businesses were?

Craig:

They’re both related. They were entertainment related in terms of using a scripted improvisational theater setting in one instance to create an entertainment venue. And then in the other one was sales training venue. So my partner and I, who were both relatively quiet and behind the scenes, kind of people wanted to start a business. And two, we looked around for things to start and we stumbled across this concept and we pursued it entirely from user experience, design perspective. We were not theater people. We didn’t know anything about entertainment, and we didn’t know anything about acting or directing or really anything, but we did know what it was like to be an audience member. And so we crafted a performance. It was built around making the audience member really, really comfortable creating a circumstance that they could use their imagination and fill in the story partially for themselves.

Craig:

So they could be participating in the actual use experience in the, in the entertainment experience and that worked. And then on the heels of that, I, I was, I was in a hotel one time and I peeked in the door and was looking at a sales conference with a speaker in front of a large audience and doing a relatively mediocre job. And having worked with theater people and actors for a little while, I thought, boy, I don’t know why anybody that’s not an actor ever gives a speech because actors can tell the story and they can move an audience and they can assume a persona. And so you could create the message and have it delivered by a performer, and it would have a much greater impact. And so we’ve created this sales training program that was really a scripted performance with an improvisational setting. And we were teaching people, rapport, building skills and sales skills. And we leaned on a whole bunch of other work, but we wrote it into a, into a theater piece. It was basically an all day seminar for sales teams on how to learn, how to be a better salesperson by creating better relationships. How did you get to Patagonia?

Craig:

My wife was looking for a present and she saw a job posted on Patagonia’s website and say, you should, you should go do this. And I had never really worked for a larger company. And I thought if I was going to work anywhere, it would be Patagonia. I was already a very avid fan and, and obsessed with the company. And I thought to myself, yeah, if I did work for a bigger company, that would probably be one of the few, and I didn’t necessarily make a good choice because I think what I was thinking was that I would learn how businesses work. I would learn how big businesses work, because I’d only done my own thing or been exposed to smaller endeavors. And the, it was it was a bad choice from that perspective because Patagonia didn’t really operate and it doesn’t operate. I don’t, you know, today similar to most businesses, it’s very, very heavily steeped in principles. And it has an agenda that is really quite unique and it, it runs remarkably differently. And now that I’ve consulted for many, many years and I’ve looked inside of dozens and dozens of, of businesses, it really truly is a very unique circumstance.

Peter:

And so what did you, what were you brought in to do for them, and what did you end up doing?

Craig:

I was brought into help resurrect their sailing business the way the business was, who was constructed back then they had a unique teams that were sport specific. So they had a fly fishing category and surfing category and climbing and different, different disciplines of climbing and snowboarding and et cetera, et cetera. And so they had category experts that would lead both product design and marketing, and they would run those business relatively independently underneath the umbrella of the, of the parent. And I came in and I thought, my first, my first effort was to write a business plan. I wrote the business plan and present it to the board of directors. And the board director said, well, we don’t really do things like that. Because I, I looked at it from a more, a traditional marketing perspective. And, and I said, well, if you don’t do that, you probably shouldn’t be in the sanding business. And they said, okay, let’s not be in the sailing business. We shut down the sailing business and with it, my job. So I, I talked myself out of a job in about nine months. And then I moved over to the, to the internet side of the business, which was fledgling at the time. So that was 1999.

Peter:

Where are you, by the way, at that point, having just been in big business or what you were considering big business, but Patagonia having been in it for nine months, were you comfortable, like basically making a case for dissolving their sailing business? I mean, that’s like a big responsibility and a big move for, for the organization and for your leadership. And I’m curious emotionally, like what was going on for you? Were you worried about it? Were you confident in it?

Craig:

Well, I think that was the hinge that, that is really the key. The key story about Patagonia is that it operates under a very clearly defined, not, not strict, but a very clearly defined set of principles. And, and it sticks to them and the business and the leadership are steadfast about what those principles are. And they’ve done a lot of homework to establish them. And I think the shinards get remarkable credit, at least from my point of view of having that sort of discipline to define the business that they want to run and the business that they want to exist in the world. And they’re willing to, to sacrifice the financial success, if that doesn’t work rather than sacrifice the principles. And so when I looked at it and I painted the picture of what they could do or couldn’t do within that category, it was, it was clear that that wasn’t going to necessarily be a good investment for them.

Peter:

And, and what could you identify some of these principles that, that we’re, you know, where are the next step in this conversation is how do you operationalize them into every nook of the organization, but let’s start with sort of defining a few of them.

Craig:

Yeah, it’s a, that’s a pretty big question in many, many podcasts worth of conversation, but the, the key thing is, is the pairing of building the best tool for the job, and then doing that within the context of its environmental footprint. And then how does that affect the overall businesses, environmental footprint and the company? I ha I have a perception about the world that most marketing most branding is done from the pers from a narcissistic perspective, where I look at myself and I decide what it is that I’m really great at. And then I go out and I tell the world how great I am. And I do compare and contrast communications, such that I look like I’m, I’m the best in the category. And that’s not what Patagonia does. Patagonia builds what it builds. And it does it from the integrity of those two things, trying to build the best tool for the job and with the eye on the environmental impact. And then it puts it out into the world. And if people like it, they like it. And if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. And they’re willing to live with that. And that has that integrity has really built a very, very strong following. And the is operationalization of that

Peter:

Actually, before we get to the operational, let me, can I ask a follow-up question to that? Because everything you’ve told me so far feels like, and I’m sure it’s not, but it feels to me like it’s the opposite of what you’ve just described, which is you have this totally audience centric approach, you know, both with the sailing team and with the improv and the theater. It’s like, what is it that these people want? And let me design something, that’s going to give them just what they want. And now you’re saying you go into this organization and it’s like, I don’t care what they want. I’m going to build the best thing and I’m going to make it, and then let’s see if they want it or not. And it feels like it’s super,

Craig:

I was glad you, you stopped me there because it’s, it’s a, it’s not designing to a market opportunity. It’s really designing from an empathetic point of view. One of the things that Patagonia did early on was bring in. And for my experience in the ceiling, I had two resumes when I got hired there, I had a business resume and my education and my, and then my other resume was my, my sport resume. So how much do I understand the space that I am and did I live that life to whatever state of integrity that is? Do I really, really pour myself into the thing that I, that I do, whether it’s climbing or snowboarding or sailing or whatever it is how much of a core participant and I, I don’t know, maybe I call myself an athlete from that perspective. And we at Patagonia affectionately call those people, the dirtbags, the people that really sacrifice anything and everything, just to have the experience in the outdoors and doing the thing that they love.

Craig:

So they, they sacrifice job and money and, and family and everything else. And hence, when I, when I decided to stop being a sailing coach, that was the moment when I tabled that lifestyle. And I was in my late twenties and decided I, I needed to have a more functional an existence. So the design effort and the crafting of product comes from really, truly intimately understanding what the space is and what the need is. And it comes from a very empathetic place. It comes from an authentic core understanding of what it is. Now, you piece that together with we’re going to build the best tool for the job for that circumstance. And we’re going to do it with the consciousness of what that impact is to the environment. And they put that into the world. There’s a, there’s a large audience of people that really, really appreciate what that is, but Patagonia is not trying to dupe anybody. They’re not trying to convince somebody that they’re better than the next person. That’s, that’s the, that internal point of view.

Peter:

Interesting. So you’re still really designing for the audience, but, but it’s in a very different kind of way. You’re not, you’re, you’re designing for the sort of, you know, the, the, the idealist version of who the audience is, but you’re not necessarily asking them what it is that they want.

Craig:

Right. That audience is internal though. That’s, that’s why I was there in the sailing capacity, was to thank from, from the Patagonia point of view, what is it that’s that this person that participates in that sport or activity would most ideally like tat like to have and use, and that’s, that’s, that’s really where they were born. They’re born in climbing, but they got into whitewater kayaking and paddling and all these, all these sports then had people in them that were completely dedicated those activities. And that’s who Patagonia hiring there’s a back in the day. It was, you know, we’d rather hire somebody that understands that and teach them how to do their work. Then hire somebody who’s maybe an expert product designer or copywriter or marketer and then teach them what it is to be a core athlete. So the populace was, was much more based around those people that were having those experiences and dedicating their lives to those experiences.

Peter:

So how do you now operationalize this?

Craig:

Yeah, well, it’s remarkably simple and I’m surprised that it is not being a well-practiced exercise and the, the brand ecosystem model hinges on a tool called the customer activation cycle. Then what it does is it, it reverse engineers, how a customer is first introduced to a brand and how the relationship matriculates and evolves to become a committed relationship in both directions. So what is it that’s on the brand side that needs to be provided to somebody to maintain that relationship. And then what is it that, that individual is leaning on that organization for and committed to, from both from a consumption of a product and content and, and use experience. Most brands go to market. Like I said, a little bit more leaning on that phrase that we’re the best at something, or we’re superior in our space, or we’re a category leader.

Craig:

And then they, they endeavor to prove that point out. And that’s not to say that there aren’t elements of that, that are mission critical to this whole exercise, but we think about a customer that is first getting introduced to a brand or two people that are first getting introduced to one another. They’re they’re doing a very, very quick study on whether that’s something that resonates with them or not. It’s a sort of an instantaneous Malcolm Gladwell and blink moment of first impression. And then once that first impression occurs, there’s a, okay. Now what, and if I make a first purchase and I use the product and have customer service experience, then what is it that I’m vetting relative to that first impression? So what is it I was looking for in the first place that this brand showed up as a shiny object and a potential provider for me.

Craig:

And then once I enter into the fray a little bit and have a use experience, product, customer service, et cetera, is it coming true? Do I, what is it that I’m testing it against? Do I have a little algorithm of value if you will, that says that I have these things on a checklist that I’m, I’m vetting, whether the thing I paid for is worth it or not. And as those things come true, then I’m willing to look behind the curtain and see who’s running this business and running this brand and what they stand for. And if those things align, then I have a platform to quote unquote, fall in love and, and have a longer-term relationship. And

Speaker 3:

How do you spread that throughout an organization?

Craig:

Yeah, the, the other tool that we use is called the story universe, and it is an accounting of all of the experiences that matter in the matriculation of that relationship. And we build that out. We meaning the collaboration of, of all the internal key stakeholders. And then the, the study that looks out at the world and, and listens to what consumers are saying, experiencing relative to this brand. We catalog all these experiences and organize them in such a way that we can use them to populate, use experiences and build editorial calendars and communications, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So ultimately we’re pairing the customer activation cycle with the story universe in order to create user experiences that accommodate wherever you are along in that relationship. It’s not really, I think in the automated marketing world, people are looking for, Hey, we’re going to do a trigger email or trigger a retargeting ad or, or dynamically populate a piece of content on a website, because this is the person’s a first time user, or this person’s come back three or four times, or this person’s purchased five or six times.

Craig:

And what this model is doing is accounting for all of that and saying, can we, can we create a user experience such that someone who is a long-term customer can navigate to the things that they’re most interested in and someone that’s a first time customer is getting the pieces of information that they need, and they can discern those from the other things so that they can self-select through this process. And then if need be, we can do more, more targeted campaigns, but really we’re trying to create a user experience that is accommodating to those various bits and pieces of information so that the consumer is getting the right piece of information at the right time relative to their relationship development.

Peter:

So, so big picture, what you’re doing is you’re saying we want to develop a product and I’m going to, I’m going to broaden this, right? So like big picture, we want to develop a product or service that meets the needs of a particular kind of customer. Like, we want to be very specific about it, and then we want to build for them. And, and that we want to know them intimately. And then what we want to do is to make sure that, which still feels actually like it’s, it’s very principled and also still very audience centric, right. It’s kind of like whether that customer is kind of internalized or if it’s, you know, but it’s like, who is this person? And we’re going to design and know design our product or service. That’s going to be very, very specific to, to meet their needs. And we and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to like identify milestones in the process and make sure that every single one of those milestones in the process is sort of, you know, moving the customer along a process and to the extent possible getting feedback from them so that we know that we’re doing that. Am I, am I thinking about this broadly in the right way?

Craig:

Yeah. I think that was a great capture. The first step and the key step here to know, know thyself, it, it’s the confidence to have your, our own point of view and have the integrity to put what you’re doing uniquely into the world, because there’s an audience of people that most likely have a shared worldview and think like you and operate like you. And those are the people that you’re servicing. And those people that don’t think like that. And maybe not even appreciate it, you don’t have to worry about, and you can be a very, very large, you know, a billion dollars plus business by doing that. There’s lots of people on the planet and putting your own point of view in your own circumstance in your own way is really the most defensible thing that you can do. And so once understanding yourself, then you’re really not looking out for a target market.

Craig:

So if, I guess if you make kids clothes, you you’re going to target moms and kids to a certain extent, but we’re really looking for how does that, that person thinks and what I’m always fascinated with. When I do interviews of customers for brands, how wide the error, or the great variety of people that show up. So interview 10 or 20 or 30 people, you’re going to get young people, old people, all, all, all spectrum and the genders, geography, differences, economic differences, et cetera, et cetera. And yes, you know, if you’re selling a very, very high end product, you’re going to have a little bit more of an affluent audience, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have aspirational people that are in the fray that maybe you’re saving up to make that purchase and, and making very specific purchases. They may not fit the economic demographic, and yes, you need to do targeted marketing and your digital and your print, et cetera, so that you’re hitting the most likely candidates, but really you’re servicing someone that thinks a certain way, not looks a certain way.

Craig:

So this isn’t built on characteristics and attributes, demographics, geographics. Those things are considered when you go out and try and distribute your messages. But really you’re trying to accommodate a way of thinking that aligns with your own way of thinking and your product as a result of that, your service environment, as a result of that. So the more clear you are about yourself, the more confidence that you have to put that into the world really deliberately and clearly, and then that’s the user experience that you’re really crafting. You’re almost crafting the user experience for yourself because, because that’s, who’s going to ultimately be attracted to what it is that you’re doing, the people that share your worldview. And I think that’s a huge lesson that I learned at Patagonia because Patagonia was very willing to say things and do things and act on things that were driven really, truly just from their own self introspection and understanding of, of themselves. And lo and behold, when they did those things and they, to those principles, that’s when the business performed the best.

Peter:

So what do you say to someone who would say actually let me, I’m, let’s use me as an example, let’s get super personal. So, so I, I, you know, I, I’m an executive coach and I work with CEOs of pretty major organizations, C-level people, et cetera. And, and at the same time, I have a very particular, I mean, even the way I phrase this question reflects a certain insecurity or lack of confidence that I have around something like I have a certain way of viewing the world, which is, which comes from a, a sense of humanness and connection. And I don’t know how to describe this. Exactly. I, I, you know, like when I’m, when, when I hear you say like, you should know yourself, well, actually I actually think I know myself pretty well, and there’s this incredible personal side to what I care about along with the professional side, which I actually think is, is, is actually ultimately more important.

Peter:

Like, I think that’s what we’re left with at the end of the day and yet, you know, and, and I think the clients I work with that I enjoy working with the BA the most that do the best with me are people who hold both sides of that really strongly, that they could be out there in the world and be strong leaders and also vulnerable and connected and committed to things that they care about and willing to take risks. And, and, but not in this sort of like bold macho kind of way, but in a way in which they’re willing to be real and vulnerable, I think I lack some confidence, although obviously I’m having this conversation in public with you over podcasts, but I think I lacked some confidence in fully committing to like saying out in the world, like, here’s why I’m in, here’s what I do now.

Peter:

I do. I mean, I’ve written a bunch of books and I think that comes out in my books, but I have an underlying fear that a people are going to confuse me with a life coach. And not that there’s anything wrong at all with, with life coaching. And it’s not the focus of my work, really the, I mean, it, it, it’s a partly the focus of my work, but I, I really like working with C-level executives and, you know, people in strong leadership roles and positions. And so I’m worried that that will, you know, that, that coming out, it’s actually so interesting to even be asking you this question and the way that I’m asking, because I’m discovering all sorts of, you know,

Craig:

Therapy moment here.

Peter:

Yeah, well, it is because I think this is what the leaders I work with are afraid of. It’s the same thing they’re afraid of like showing vulnerability and then having that discredit their, you know, the, the sort of roles they have out in the world. And I’m actually right now saying exactly the same thing.

Craig:

The vulnerability is the basis of a real relationship.

Peter:

Right, right, right. Yeah. I think that’s a hundred percent. Right. And so I guess, I guess maybe I’m just reinforcing what you’re saying. And here actually, here’s the, here’s the question, which is what you said is knowing yourself really well, gives you the confidence to go out into the world with that. And I want to push back against that a little bit. I actually think those are two separate things that you could know yourself really well, really lack the confidence to come out in the world in that way, because you think it will create a vulnerability in your business, or you think it won’t be accepted by people, or you think that the people you want it to be accepted with won’t accept it or will write you off. Or it’s not necessarily the right marketing story to attract them, even though that’s what they want.

Peter:

You know, I feel like I can sometimes fool people into working with me because I, you know, I come out with this, you know, leadership stuff, and then they work with me and they’re like, wow, I got so much more than I was expecting, but they never would have worked with me. Had they, you know, like I run a leadership intensive, a leadership program. And one of the things that people say about the leadership intensive is had I known what we were going to be doing over this leadership intensive. I never would have come. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Right. By definition, those two things go together. So I don’t know if my question. Yeah.

Craig:

That’s a great question. And I’m glad again, the clarity of what I’m saying is really important because knowing, knowing yourself is, is really, really critical to be principled, to stay on the track. And then with the customer activation cycle, the brand ecosystem model holistically, when you see it in operation, you understand then, so your circumstance, you have people that are coming to your, to your work that have a revelation partway through and, and say, this is really valuable for me. And yet at the same time, had I known what the process was? I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place. Well, that’s, that’s a, a shiny object entry point. So at the entry point, you want to give them what it is that they are seeking. And yet they need to have a certain amount of understanding in order to appreciate what you were really going to do.

Craig:

And that is more of a furthering of the relationship that you don’t go on a first date and tell it to tell everything about yourself, hook, line, and sinker, or absolute, because that’s not the appropriate setting for that. That’s still first impression vetting testing early on. And all you did was show up as a little shiny object. So something about you attracted you to the other person, and that person was attracted to you in some very, very superficial way. And so now that’s enough to get to the next phase in the, and the next phase and the next phase, the next phase. So if you look at what it is that you’re putting out into the world is this possibility to be a better leader, whatever that is, people are attracted to that shiny object. And then they’re coming in and they’re getting to know more about what the process is by which they can become that thing.

Craig:

And then in that process, that would have been scary to think of that upfront. So this is often the mistake that that branding and marketing people make is that they think they have to convince somebody of something, but they don’t understand that what they’re forming is a relationship. They think that they’re telling somebody something that makes them attractive to them, and then they’re selling them something. And that’s not what this model is all about. This model is very much about just being sensitive and empathetic and tuned into the state of the relationship. The confidence that you gain is not necessarily, as I stated in the, knowing yourself, knowing yourself, then paired with understanding how relationships are developed, gives you the confidence to manage that relationship with your customer from beginning to end. So now, you know what someone who’s been in a buying habit with you for a very long time, how is it that they want to participate and be a part of the organization that you’ve created?

Craig:

And then for someone who’s first entering into that, what is it that they’re looking for that you can provide for them? That is just enough to get them in the door for them to explore more and discover more, and then eventually matriculate to become that, to develop that long-term committed relationships. So no relationship looks the same at the beginning as it does at the end. And what we’re trying to do is manage those things, but also no relationship exists. If it’s not built on trust and vulnerability and transparency. So you can’t hide any of these things and you can’t manipulate the relationships with your customers, they’re going to eventually find out who you are. So you better be super clear about what that is. Otherwise they’ll have a very inconsistent experience of you, and that will drive them away just as much as a false experience or a negative experience.

Peter:

And meanwhile, there’s always a front door and you have to be clear about what that front door is. Absolutely right. Craig, you, you wrote the book compass and nail. That’s sort of the, that’s your company too. Just tell us what compass and the nail is.

Craig:

It is a deep dive into the brand ecosystem model, why this works case studies around it, examples and storytelling around seeing it in action and really what it is that brand ecosystem model is made up of three different tools. The five bonds of loyalty, which is a macro business model construct that allows you to understand the business model that you reside in and how to go to market from a macro perspective. And then the story universe, which is the accounting of all of the different things that matter in the development of the relationship and then the customer activation cycle, which is the tracking and understanding of the, of the cognitive process. A customer goes through and forming a longterm relationship with you and the book describes each of those tools and how they’re, they’re not being enacted in the world and an examples of how they are being enacted in the world and the power that resides.

Craig:

Once we start to come together and understand that this is really truly how we are all operating and the end goal of the, of the book and, and the model is around forming much, much more meaningful. And I, well, I’ll just say that as much more meaningful relationships. And I think what happens within this, the structure, it allows for providers to become much better at providing for the users, whether that’s government policy or it’s education, or it’s in a business setting and to optimize and improve basically the human experience across the board.

Peter:

And, and what is the, tell me what, you know, compass and the nail, the name where the name is derived from.

Craig:

Yeah, so the, the book, the compass and the nail comes from a quote, which you’re going to catch me off guard here and not be able to quote my own quote, but it’s a, it’s a reference to a rusty nail sitting next to a trustee compass will steer the ship off track and potentially wreck it on a shoreline. So not only do you need to know what your true North is or where it is that you’re heading, which is that introspective aspect, but you also have to know how to operationalize that and build that into your user experience so that you can manage your relationships.

Peter:

And I guess, whatever the nail is in effect, whether it’s, you know, the actual magnetic draw of the earth or a busty. Now you want to know that you’re pointing that your compass is pointing in the right direction, meaning like that, you know, you’ve chosen the right audience or the right magnetic pole to direct you, to me,

Craig:

You become true to yourself. And then you operationalize that, so that others that appreciate what it is that you’re doing and who you are and why you do what you do. We’ll we’ll be attracted to that and support it over time.

Peter:

We have been speaking with Craig Wilson. He wrote the compass in the nail. He’s an entrepreneur consultant, author, and coach and brand and marketing expert in, in the best sense of the, of both of those words. Craig, thank you so much for being on the Bregman leadership podcast.

Craig:

I enjoyed it. Thank you.

 

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