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Behind the Scenes of the Real-World Branding Podcast

December 23, 2015

| Bill Gullan |

As the year comes to a close, like many others, we take some time to reflect on the first (almost) year of our podcast. This week we take a look behind the scenes at Real-World Branding. Until next year, happy holidays from the Cradle of Liberty.

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Bill Gullan: Greetings one and all. This is Real-World Branding. I’m Bill Gullan, President of Finch Brands, a premier boutique branding agency. This is One Big Idea.

Given the time of year and the fact that we’re all, perhaps, in a bit of a reflective mood – we’ve been doing the Real-World Branding Podcast for eight, nine months, I think we started in March – this week I’d like to quickly look back over a little bit of what we’ve learned and some stories from behind the scenes of putting this podcast together. I’m welcoming as our guest, Steve Radzinski, Finch Brand’s Communications Manager. Welcome Steve.

Steve Radzinski: Thank you, Bill. Thank you for having me.

Bill: Yes, Steve normally sits in the room and is the audio/video (actually no video thankfully), the audio wizard, magician when it comes to putting all this together. This isn’t what you signed-up for is it?

Steve: Actually, it kind of was. It was in the job description, but I always thought I’d be behind the scenes and now I’m on the scene.

Bill: Yeah, you’re on the scene. We’re glad you’re here. Steve started with us on August 7, so he sort of inherited, as part of his job description as noted, the production element of what we do here on this podcast. When I think back to why we started doing this and the story that underlies some choices that we made along the way, I really can trace the inspiration for this back to my move from the city to the suburbs. Taking my family from our loft-style condo four blocks from the office and moving to Devon, Pennsylvania. In the western [Philadelphian] suburbs, which is about forty-five minutes to an hour [from the office] depending on if I drive or I take the train.

I had resolved to myself that this extra hour to and from in terms of the commute was going to be a highly productive time and I was going to get everything done. I was going to work the whole time and make sure everything was off the plate. While I do check email and I do take calls periodically on that journey, I found out pretty early that it was much more rejuvenating to really stare out the window. I have two children, three and five, and one of the benefits of moving further away, in addition to better options for schools – our daughter is in Kindergarten, she’s our oldest – is the fact that prior to this, when I was walking four blocks, I would get home and I would arrive to a full-time employed spouse and two little kids, and a spouse who had kind of been in the battle with the little kids for a couple of hours. I would be thinking on that four block walk about something Finch Brands related or the last meeting we had or whatever it was.

By the time I arrived at the door and I could hear the laughter or the cries or whatever that lay behind it, and I was about to go into duty here. I remember thinking I wish I could discombobulate if you will, decompress from the day and get ready for daddy duty. I found that the commute has actually made that a lot easier. As I was getting into the swing of this longer trip in the morning and the afternoon, I got into podcasts a little bit. My own eclectic interests range from blue notes podcast to pro-wrestling podcast, to sports gambling to politics, to all sorts of different things. I really grew to find a lot of interest in the medium and all of the folks who’ve been doing things in the podcast realm.

In addition to traveling a lot and being on planes and the daily commute and everything else, I found myself getting deeper and deeper. I really appreciated the ability of the podcast medium as a way of stretching out on a topic, whether it was an interview or one central topic that is dealt with over time. Podcasts were fun to listen to. We thought, ‘hey, it would be fun to produce one for Finch Brands in addition to what we do on the blog and everything else.’ The range of interests that our clients have, businesses that we serve, etc., we thought it would be interesting. It’s been a thrill and a real joy. One of the parts of the week that I look forward to most.

Hopefully, you and our listening audience have found value and joy from it as well. I remember back when we started, it was early March because Valerie Slade, who’s now at Anthropologie and was Steve’s predecessor here at Finch Brands, and I schlepped over to Scott O’Neil’s office at the 76ers. We dragged a microphone, we dragged a laptop and we figured we’d give this a shot. Scott’s a good friend and a great client. We figured if we were able to do this in a relatively glitch-free way that he would be supportive. At the same time, he’s a very busy guy. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time. Thankfully, we pulled it off.

There was one example this year of an interview and I won’t name it, that we actually had to re-record because it was one of the earlier Skype remote podcast editions that was a tremendous interview. When it came time to edit it and get it ready to post, we found that it was basically inaudible. The client had done it from a conference room and she had echoes all around and we could mess with the levels with my voice, but there wasn’t much we could do to make her able to be heard. So we, with tail between our legs, went back and asked for forbearance and support in re-recording it and thankfully she was generous enough to do it. I think we learned a lot technically from that as well as everything else.

I think the most rewarding element of the podcast, for me at least, has been the ability … well, two things…

One, the ability to go deeper into the career path and bigger thoughts of clients and friends and others whom we’ve met through this medium. You don’t usually in your day-to-day existence, at least we don’t, have an ability to get outside of the burning questions of the moment or the projects that we may be working on. To think about the discipline and to think about the trajectory of everyone’s individual career, the choices they made or didn’t make, the ‘why’s’ that have enabled them to find passion in their business lives.

Also, we’ve always made it a point to make sure that we’re able to generate some words of wisdom for those on the younger end from a career prospective or those who are still students who listen to this to find value from all the business and brand builders who we’ve brought together at Real-World Branding. Hopefully, that’s been as enjoyable for our listeners as it has been for me. Steve, any big tales from the road as we’ve done this for some months together?

Steve: Yeah, I would say the one that comes to mind most is when we went to record Anthony Bucci. That was the first on-scene recording we had done together as I came in. We only had one microphone at the time and you guys had to sit dangerously close-

Bill: I’m sure he felt the energy, right.

Steve: It was palpable. Sitting in their office, it was very hard for me to focus on the recording because there’s a lot going on there [at RevZilla]. They have a half pipe, they have a trampoline, so I was trying to make sure I was very focused on the actual recording of the podcast, but again, it was tough.

I think the one big take-away I get from every one of these that we do is there’s a lot of excitement and the tales that these individuals tell, there’s so much passion behind the story. You don’t normally get that from just a ten-minute conversation with these people. It seems that every time we record, a lot of that passion comes out. We get to hear the story behind the business, behind the brand, it’s really fascinating.

Bill: Thank you, sir and friend, for all of your help along the way as we’ve discovered new technologies – we have a second microphone now, talk about innovation. We’re ready to schlep it or do Skype or whatever it takes to continue to bring this wisdom to our listeners.

Steve: It’s my pleasure. I’m happy to bring something to the table. Especially this game changing second mic that was very, very innovative.

Bill: Big milestone in the life of the Real-World Branding podcast. The second thing that I’ve derived a lot of joy from over the course of the year, and we’ll close with this, is the dialogue that we’ve had with listeners. As always, there are a couple of different ways to register your interest and support for what we’re doing. One is to give us a rating in the app store of your choice. If we’ve been compelling and you’ve enjoyed over a long period of time or you’re new and are enjoying what we’re doing here, we’d love to see that in the form of four or five stars if we deserved it.

We certainly implore and suggest that folks subscribe so that they don’t miss a single episode. Every other week is when we tend to do our longer form brand-building interview, and then in off weeks we do what we’re doing this week, which is called One Big Idea, where we really focus on one core topic.

Then really the third way, the way it’s been so rewarding and interesting is the dialogue with the folks who have listened. Either to all of them or to one or two of them or whatever it is, but who have kind words, which we appreciate, comments and suggestions, which we absolutely appreciate. Then thoughts about future guests or topics the dialogue that this has created with our listeners has been tremendously fun for me and for Steve and I think for everyone at the company here as we’ve hoped to get this in as many hands and ears as we possibly can.

There’s a lot of people out there who are interested in the business and brand building. It has been our goal, and will be our goal moving into 2016, to bring, every single week, content that is practical, but that is also inspiring and that triggers thought and introspection. As well as focuses on external conditions when it comes to building brands and businesses.

That’s it for us. That’s probably it for the year here in 2015 at Real-World Branding. We’re very, very grateful for the support both in word and deed from those who’ve helped get the show off the ground and we will hold up our end of the bargain, which is to make this entertaining and valuable and interesting as we move into year two. In that spirit, happy holidays to all. Signing off from the Cradle of Liberty.

About The Author: Bill Gullan

Bill Gullan is the President of Finch Brands. His nearly 30-year (ugh!) career in branding has revolved around naming, messaging, M&A brand integration, and qualitative research. He has been with Finch Brands since 2001.

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