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The Branding Process with Tony Perlak and Erin Hoskins of Allied Health Media

November 1, 2018

| Bill Gullan |

Tony Perlak, CEO, and Erin Hoskins, CMO, of Allied Health Media Officer join us to share their backgrounds and the rebranding process that they went through at Allied Health Media. If you like our podcast, please subscribe and leave us a rating!

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Bill Gullan: Greetings, one and all. This is Real-World Branding. I’m Bill Gullan, president of Finch Brands, a premiere boutique branding agency. Thank you for joining us. I told you we aren’t going to stop. I told you we’d be back with great interviews and content with business and brand builders. Today is no different.

Bill: But the innovation today as a podcast that is always pushing forward, we have two guests, and they are from the same company and speaking about the same situation but from different perspectives. It’s Tony Perlak and Erin Hoskins. Tony’s the chief executive officer of Allied Health Media. Erin is the CMO. What they’re going to take us through, in addition to their own sort of careers and background, which are really interesting, is a rebranding process or a branding process that they went through.

Bill: Allied Health Media as a business was created to provide sort of streaming continuing education content for the allied health professions, so that’s speech language pathology, and audiology, etc., and as they’ll tell you, over the life of the company they operated a network of sites that existed and sort of served their client base similarly but were branded separately, and they went through a process to really define and brand the overall platform that sort of underlies Allied Health Media. The outcome of this is continued. That’s the name. They’ll tell you about why and how. Enjoy Tony and Erin.

Bill: Joining us on Real-World Branding, what a treat, A- because the subject matter is so interesting, as you’ll hear, and B- we’re actually going to do a three-way call today on Skype, and this is new territory for us, thanks to Steve, our crack executive producer. We have Tony Perlak and Erin Hoskins. Tony is the CEO of Allied Health Media, and Erin Hoskins is the chief marketing officer. They’re going to take us through a bit of that company and some really interesting stories around branding and rebranding.

Bill: Thanks to you both for joining us.

Erin Hoskins: Sure.

Tony Perlak: Thank you so much, Bill and Steve. It’s great to be here.

Bill: It’s our pleasure.

Erin: Thank you.

Bill: Let’s start as we normally do, and I know we have a really meaty story to talk about, this interesting company, and this branding process, and sort of what the future looks like, but start as we normally do, if you don’t mind.

Bill: Maybe, Tony, we’ll just start with you since I’ve known you longer, a little bit about your career journey. You were finance originally, and you’ve gone through various roles and permutations. Take us through the major stops along the way, if you don’t mind.

Tony: Sure, you bet. I guess in a nutshell it’s a little bit of a cliché, but I think I’m still trying to figure out what to do when I grow up. I’ll focus on post-college alone here. I’ve been a landscaper, a social worker, a marketer in wireless, commercial lead in airline catering. I’ve run a finance team, as you alluded to, in investor relations. I’ve been a CMO, and now I’m currently CEO here at Allied Health Media. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Tony: It feels like each step led up to something different, and here I am today. Needless to say, I don’t think I’m really a 10-year career plan kind of guy. The approach that’s worked for me has just been how do I keep learning, how do I keep pushing myself outside my comfort zone, take on new challenges, and you just make the best decisions that you can each day in that regard, and at least thus far it’s worked out well.

Bill: It sure has. You were a psychology major undergrad, yes?

Tony: I was, indeed, yes, and that left me wholly unqualified to be a social worker, yet I did it anyway.

Bill: Right, right. At least you understood what was happening, even if you couldn’t necessarily weigh in on it.

Bill: Erin, your path, at least it seems, has been a bit more linear, but why don’t you take us through, if you don’t mind, a bit of sort of your background, educationally and professionally?

Erin: Sure. Like Tony, I’ve never really had a five or 10-year plan necessarily. I like to learn along the way. I really started out thinking my career was going to be in communications and public relations. That’s what I went to school for. But early in my career, I was working for Ticketmaster, and it was at a time when they were really working to change sales from in-person and over the phone to online. It was a really exciting time to be there, but it was a definite switch for my job, so I changed from doing event promotions every day to diving into the new world of digital marketing, and I loved it. I really caught the bug, and I realized how much I loved data, which was maybe a little bit surprising to me at the time.

Erin: After Ticketmaster, I spent 12 years at Meredith Corporation, which is a media company, and I led the digital marketing team there and eventually consumer marketing as well. The constant evolution of marketing channels and how they all work together really excites me. That constant change may be exhausting to a lot of people, but I really thrive on it. It changes all the time, and I love learning, so it’s been really exciting.

Erin: When the opportunity came up at Allied Health Media, it was hard to leave a place where I’d had great opportunity, and I worked with a really great group of people for so long, but honestly, once I met Tony … And I’m not just saying this because he’s on the phone … and our COO, Stacy Williams, and our then-CEO Kevin Havens, I just found myself incredibly excited about working with them. They were smart, and I knew I could really contribute to the business and to the culture.

Bill: That’s terrific.

Erin: Yeah. I had so much fun in a four-hour interview, which not many people can say.

Bill: Right, Right.

Erin: Yeah. I started at AHM two years ago as the VP of Ecommerce, and then accepted the role of CMO this past fall, and the journey continues.

Bill: No doubt. Congratulations on that journey. I know one sort of hallmark of your tenure thus far is the branding process we’re going to talk about in a minute, but to your point, Allied Health Media is a … This may be an overused word, but is certainly a disrupter in its space of continuing education for professionals, and also given your experience at Meredith and whatnot, an organization that primarily, I guess, sells online as well as delivers its content and its product and services online, so this is a digital business that is transforming an industry and a category that probably, historically, was about conference rooms in hotels and other ways of getting these credits.

Bill: Would you all take us through a little bit of the origin story of Allied Health Media as a company and kind of how it came about? Then we’ll veer into what’s been happening in the last couple years.

Tony: Sure, Bill. I can take a crack at that. Erin, chime in if I get a little bit too loquacious here. AHM-

Erin: Never.

Tony: Erin knows us too well on that front.

Bill: Tony, I was going to say, I’ve known you since the days before when the Eagles were beating the Patriots in the Superbowl.

Tony: I’m sorry, you were breaking up there, Bill. Yeah, yeah. No, enjoy the victory, my friend. It was hard-earned and well deserved.

Bill: Thank you.

Tony: In a nutshell, AHM is a collection of companies, and it always has been. Some are no longer with us. We parted ways, or they’ve been purchased, or they didn’t work out. It’s a very entrepreneurial culture. But the collection of companies today has continued, which is our primary business, that focuses on online continuing education for certified and licensed professionals.

Tony: We have a company called Simucase which provides patient simulations to speech language pathology students, and we have a new startup enterprise actually up and coming now called Aimee LaCalle, named after our founder, which sells domestic textiles with designs inspired by cultures and locations around the world that she has traveled to.

Bill: Interesting.

Tony: As you gather, we’re privately owned, and our founders are Bill and Aimee LaCalle, and they started Allied Health Media, although not under that name, but roughly 19 years ago, I think at this point, which is something that came up in the rebranding exercise, just how long this has been running and how fast the time has gone.

Tony: But at that point in time, Aimee was a practicing audiologist and Bill is a serial entrepreneur, and I think to your earlier comment, they saw an opportunity to disrupt things a little bit. They looked at education and technology, particularly an online platform, and said, “Hey, we can disrupt the traditional model here of classroom learning for audiologists and give a better aggregated resource for learning and for information.” In doing so, they created a one-stop shop for audiologists online, with information, continuing ed, career placement services, and resources for students and universities as well.

Tony: Over time, that expanded into speech pathology, into Simucase, into occupational therapy, and into physical therapy, and those are the primary fields that we serve today. In each instance, the strategy was really to super serve those distinct audiences, so we got a bunch of fantastic domain names, and they really became the brand names of the company. We went to market under,,, and, and really tried to tailor the messaging and the approach to those distinct audiences.

Tony: But looking at our leadership position over time in online continuing ed, and then where we wanted to go in the future, I think we came to the conclusion pretty quickly that the branded house approach might serve us better in the future versus the house of brands, to allow expansion, and then I think to more clearly let brand then communicate succinctly who we are and what we do. That was kind of the process leading up to the continued exercise where Erin and the marketing team came in, led us through a branding process that resulted in that name, and we did launch publicly last summer, which was been fantastic.

Bill: Terrific. When you say continued, that is at least one of the organizing brand names, I guess, under which the continuing education sort of business is clustered. Continued is spelled, I guess, lower case C, and then the E-D on the end, at least in the materials I’ve seen, are bolded, I guess to reflect education and whatnot.

Bill: Let’s talk about that process. Tony, you’ve set the scene a little bit as to the sort of brand architecture, and the geek in me loves talking about brand architecture.

Tony: Totally.

Bill: We have a bit of the rationale for how to undertake this.

Bill: Erin, maybe you can lead us here. Talk to us about the sort of highs and lows of that process, what the driving sort of insights were, and a bit about the outcome.

Erin: Sure. It was a long process, as anyone who’s been through a rebranding exercise has been, but it’s been really fulfilling in the end, but certainly a journey to get there. The rebrand effort actually kicked off a little bit before my time joining the company, but from inception to launch it was about a two-year time frame. It started off with the team working with an outside agency on the name, which you already alluded to is continued, with the bold E-D or emphasized E-D, then also worked with them on initial concepts for logo and other branding elements.

Erin: That name really encompassed our primary mission of continuing education, as well as our continued journey. It was really important to us to be able to get our story out there, so talking about the continued growth for both our customers and our company, it really was a perfect name to try to help encapsulate all of those things. The logo that we came up with has a bright red cube that hovers over the E-D, so it just helps emphasize that again, but it also signifies what we call the six sides of our story.

Erin: Those are purpose, innovation, collaboration, experience, journey, and synergy, all words that are used a lot in different places, but they are really meaningful to us, and we had this kind of boil down to that’s what the cube means for us.

Bill: Very cool. How do you or how do you hope, through this sort of process of brand development … Really, Allied Health Media, I guess, has been doing this for a while. My sense is the continuing education credits and that overall experience is you have to get them, and it’s part of your licensure, or in the case of students it’s part of the journey to get to where you need to be professionally, but there may not be … Or maybe there is. Maybe I’m wrong.

Bill: Could you speak a little bit to the mindset of allied health professionals around continuing education, and sort of how you were maybe leaning into that through this process?

Erin: Sure. That’s a great question. We find we have a mix of people. We certainly have the people who are fulfilling their credits and want to make sure their license is renewed. That’s always a primary driver. But we find we have people all over the board. There’s the folks that wait and procrastinate at the end. There’s the people that their new licensure just kicks off, and they’re the first people, if they renew in December, that are starting again in January to get a jump on it. Then we do have those people that are more lifelong learners, and we need to appeal to all of them.

Erin: We need to meet the immediacy for people who need to get their continuing education credits at the last minute, but also the people that have a real interest in making sure they’re keeping up on the trends of their field. We get comments from people that they maybe have a client coming in or a patient coming in that has a certain condition, and so they use continuing education to kind of brush up on things or latest trends before they maybe see that patient. It was really important to us to pull that in. Our tag line and our mission really I think speak to that.

Erin: We came up with, “Our brand promise is really to offer high-quality online continuing education that fits your schedule and your budget for the life of your career.” We’re there to kind of meet your needs as your schedule allows, but also there to be sort of your partner through your career.

Bill: Yeah, for the life of your career, that sort of double meaning, talking about both longevity and journey, but also about the spark that hopefully never goes out for folks who have chosen this occupation, kind of lands with some degree, I think, of power and purpose.

Bill: The model here, at least on the continuing ed side, is kind of an all-you-can-eat, for lack of a better phrase, I guess is 99 bucks for all that you want or can handle or need. Could you maybe speak to a little bit about how the business model was conceptualized or sort of reinforced as you all came through this, as opposed to paying for time, or per credit? Was it about simplicity, or is that what the market told you they wanted? Could you guys speak to that a bit?

Tony: Sure. I can give a quick opinion on that one and then, Erin, please follow.

Erin: Sure.

Tony: Yeah. I mean, it’s an interesting one from a perspective that when this started, it started with AudiologyOnline, again with Aimee LaCalle being an audiologist. The hearing aid manufacturers, and then just the industry in general, had a lot of quality free content out there for continuing education. When AudiologyOnline started, continuing education was a component of it, but we didn’t even charge for it at that point in time. Then we had a little bit of a business model shift, “Okay, that could be an opportunity, and it could be a way to grow in the future.”

Tony: That changed, and we offered our 99 unlimited value proposition at that point, and it took off from there, and it was extendable then to SpeechPathology and OccupationalTherapy and PhysicalTherapy as well. It’s disruptive in the respect of the price point, in respect of the online platform where it meets people’s schedules and just timing constraints, because these are very busy professionals. It really gave something new in the marketplace, and it did upend a little bit kind of that traditional learning setup.

Tony: For us, it has been a journey where it wasn’t just a solidified business model. We were offering career center services to folks. We were offering university resources. We were trying to get students engaged. The continuing education model really evolved over time.

Bill: We’ve gotten to know one of the other sort of sub-brands, which is Simucase, a little bit. Simucase is about simulated learning, starting certainly with speech language pathologists and these cases that one can really learn from, and the simulation nature of it helps people hone their skills. That seems like just a different learning style that’s additive and really sort of compelling and progressive. Would you all be able to speak a bit to that part of the business?

Tony: Yeah, sure. Simucase is a product today that provides patient simulation situations based on the different afflictions for speech pathology, and it really serves primarily graduate students and then also is a resource for undergraduate students in the respect that they have to have a certain amount of observation hours and see these types of patients and these afflictions in action, but due to university location or just population, that not always feasible.

Tony: Simucase gives a great platform on which folks can diagnose, they can go through the steps of assessment, and educators can assess competency and work them through that process. It’s a great platform today for speech language pathology. We’re going to look to the future to understand where we could potentially extend it. But it’s really revolutionary and groundbreaking in that field, and our chief operating officer, Dr. Stacy Williams, is really the prime inventor of that platform, and we’re very fortunate to have her and the Simucase team, which is a crack group that has done nothing but drive phenomenal results over the last couple of years serving that population.

Bill: That is incredible.

Tony: We’re really excited for the future of Simucase.

Bill: Yeah, absolutely. Probably there’s at least some breadcrumbs that having an audience with and value to students as they’re entering into their fields may hopefully, in one part of the brain, create … Although, again, there’s a bit of a gap of licensure, and they may not need continuing education right away, but to the degree that it creates some sort of lifetime bridges, when you talk about that continuum of one’s career and how to serve folks as they grow and flourish.

Tony: Absolutely, and I think even as it related to our rebranding exercise … Erin, you might want to walk Bill a little bit through just kind of the synergy between those two companies.

Erin: Sure. We saw the same tie as you did, and we certainly have seen that through the business, so we thought it was important to, as sort of a sister to, to rebrand Simucase at the same time. It wasn’t as much of a brand exercise as it was bringing the styling in to have some continuity between the brands.

Erin: When we did that, we introduced similar styling, although they still keep their own name and all of that, and we actually did pull their site out from under this last year to give them their own presence, but if you go to the site, you’ll see that continuity between them. We often exhibit together at different conventions. Again, to us, it was really important that people saw us together. Like you said, I think there’s going to be opportunity in the future not just with students but other ways we can use the simulations. Certainly thinking about that as we were doing the rebrand exercise.

Erin: But we followed our master brand rebrand with Simucase literally right afterward, so those launched this fall as well.

Bill: Terrific. A lot on your plate, Erin.

Erin: Yes. It was a busy, busy time.

Bill: Right. You mentioned Dr. Stacy Williams, who I believe sits in Ohio, and you, Erin, I believe, are in Des Moines, and Tony, I think you’re probably still down in Swarthmore, PA. One of the things that’s so interesting about this company is … May not be Swarthmore, but anyway, down that way. One of the things that’s interesting about this company is there’s a strong culture and an unmistakable sense of purpose, yet this company, I believe, operates fully remote. Is that correct?

Bill: Could you talk a little bit about just the culture and sort of the strength of these relationships between colleagues and the innovative nature of this organization? How do you build and nurture such a culture within that remote working style?

Tony: Yeah, it’s a great line of inquiry, Bill, and it’s something that I think Erin and I could both talk about all day long. We are evangelists. I’ve been here three years now, Erin two years, and it’s just been an amazing experience for us, particularly coming from more traditional brick and mortar corporate backgrounds. In terms of the culture, just out of the gate, I don’t know if there’s anything that we do that I would say is revolutionary, say, at a tactic level or how do we build the culture, but where we’re unique and where we shine, I think, is just how we put various pieces together over the years to build, sustain, and evolve this culture so that it’s never stale, and it stays true to its roots, and it keeps growing.

Tony: We now have just about 90 colleagues spread around the United States. I think we have 27 states represented. You correctly identified Swarthmore, Pennsylvania as the global world headquarters of Allied Health Media, which is where I reside.

Bill: That’s where you park the jet. Right.

Tony: That’s exactly right. The helicopter’s on standby. But the model really has stood the test of time, approaching almost 20 years here, and it really has a lot to do with the passion and effort and commitment of everyone on the team, including our owners. No one in the organization gets a free pass on culture and ownership, and myself and Erin and others are absolutely included in that.

Tony: In terms of the culture for us, one of the things that really helps out is Erin alluded to our mission and our product, and that’s something that everybody can get behind. Our mission is to provide that unparalleled online learning experience to enhance the lives and careers of the professionals we serve. That is an easy rallying cry for us. It’s something we’re passionate about, and it’s no disrespect intended, but we’re not selling a pet rock or a commodity. We’re really striving to develop a quality product to help folks who make a real difference in the world every day as allied health professionals.

Tony: The folks we serve, those allied health professionals, are very well represented on our team, our founder Aimee being an audiologist. Stacy Williams, I mentioned, is a speech language pathologist and nationally recognized. All of our managing editors are practitioners within the field. As a team, it’s what we believe in. It’s what we do. It’s really work that unites us.

Tony: Second to our mission, we have for quite a period of time now had some very clearly defined core values. For a culture, that’s just paramount to kind of serve as guideposts, I think, on a daily basis. It helps guide our actions. It helps guide our aspirations as a team. Just succinctly, they are to be reliable and excellent, communicate openly and effectively, cooperate and support always, and act like an owner. They’re just words, but for us, they’re just really not. They really dictate the conduct and how this remote environment can work on a day in and day out basis, where you’ve got to have effective communication. You need to support your colleagues. Act like an owner. Take accountability. Be reliable. You’ve got to be there. You’ve got to be accessible.

Tony: A great example I can point to, it’s a little bit of a tangent, but we just kicked off an employee challenge in the month of February geared around fitness. Once a year, we get together as a total company. We fly everybody into one city and, as we like to say, we spend a week together as a work family. It’s not death by PowerPoint, although Erin may beg to differ, because I do have some PowerPoint there. But we get together and we spend time with our work family.

Tony: This last November, we got together in St. Petersburg, Florida, and we gave everybody in the company a new Fitbit as a holiday present, and we broke folks into five different teams, and then the 1st of this month in February we launched a 15-day step challenge. I think what ensued is a great microcosm of who we are as an organization. It was ultra competitive from people you never would have thought would have been ultra competitive. There was leadership coming from everybody. There was tremendous engagement across every associate.

Tony: What the teams did over the last 15 days was nothing short of extraordinary and had a great time doing it. I think it’s just, again, a great representation of how this team really goes to work every single day. Those adjectives and that approach is how they go to work every single day to serve our allied health professionals in the best way possible.

Tony: The last thing I’d say, because my soliloquy’s getting a little long here, is we are 100% remote, and we leverage the uniqueness of that versus trying to put traditional constraints on it, which I think would be easy to do. A lot of folks are familiar with brick and mortar, so we can say we’re remote, but here are the guardrails that more so conform to that traditional view, and we don’t do that. If you can stick to our core values, then as a team we really don’t care when folks get their work done.

Tony: Consequently, we have two colleagues right now on Erin’s team that are traveling the world doing a remote year program. They don’t miss a beat. As a group, we all attend our children’s school events during the day. We can try to get a run in at lunch or a spin class or a tennis match. We’re engaged with our families. We’re engaged with our work families. We really try to embrace the positive attributes of what that remote culture allows.

Bill: Very powerful, and especially with this work-from-home image that we may have in our minds being just sort of sitting in a home office or a dining room table with a little laptop, it just may mean a different location, but to know that’s there’s sort of a high trust environment, obviously there has to be, but also that ability to balance the benefits and sort of uniquenesses of that is really powerful.

Bill: I mean, Erin, when you were leaving Meredith and coming to join here, you had mentioned how that sort of initial interview was much more fun than an interview maybe ought to be over four hours, but what did you think about the remote environment? As you learned more about that part of the culture, how was that part of sort of the appeal of the company?

Erin: Sure. I really was looking for a little bit more flexibility in my life. I’d worked a lot of hours for a lot of years, and I still was very committed to my career and wanting to make a difference at a company, but the remote, particularly the full remote, culture of the company fascinated me. I was really interested in how it was really going to work on a day-to-day basis, particularly since, like you said, a lot of us have had experiences at companies where it just doesn’t work that well. Either conference calls don’t work, or there’s that person that never calls in, not that we never have any problems, but it’s pretty fascinating.

Erin: I think it is really interesting. I think a lot of the way that it works really starts with the hiring process. While we get to pull from an exceptional talent pool from all over the country, we put as much, if not more, emphasis on hiring for fit for the culture. As Tony kind of said, that culture piece is so important. We may have equally matched candidates for jobs, but we really make the final decision based on the culture fit. The people here really do embody the core values. It’s something that’s woven into our daily work. There is a sense within the company of really helping each other succeed.

Erin: People are really helpful when you first start in helping you learn the ropes, and giving you a lot of grace into figuring that out. We’re not perfect. When we have issues, we address it, and we’re pretty open and honest about those things. You have to be. You don’t get to see each other and see the facial expressions sometimes. We have to be pretty open and honest. I often joke, though. I wonder how I passed through the hiring process, because everyone here is really funny. We take our jobs and roles really seriously, but not ourselves.

Erin: Our meetings are really funny. They’re well organized and very efficient, but they’re also fun. It’s kind of funny. If you’re presenting on a call or in a all-company meeting or something, you have to learn to be a really good multi-tasker, because you’re presenting, and you’re maybe screen sharing or something, but then the Skype window is going the whole time, and people are commenting, and sometimes they’re asking questions, but a lot of times they’re just kind of ribbing you and cracking jokes. Tony often is the butt of those jokes, too.

Bill: Right, with good reason. Yes.

Tony: Deserved.

Erin: Exactly. Exactly. It’s just fun. I mean, everybody’s figured out a way to be personal with each other, but it’s productive too, because you don’t have necessarily all of the same distractions as in a normal work environment. I mean, we’re all grateful for getting to do it, too. We respect it. We respect the culture, because it does allow us to have that flexibility in our lives. We’re pretty protective of it.

Bill: That’s pretty great.

Erin: As we were joking before, you can’t really beat getting to wear yoga pants and fuzzy slippers to work every day.

Bill: No, there’s no doubt about that. To your point, to be sort of aware of and actively fighting against the things that might make it isolating, yet taking advantage of that seems like a really fascinating balance.

Bill: In that spirit, we’re butting up against the amount of time that I promised that I’d keep you, but as we close, and maybe we’ll just do this one at a time, and Erin, since we’re far more interested in your response and we’ll find more value in it, most likely, than Tony’s, I think we have listeners here who are early on in their career or even still students who enjoy learning about these paths that people have taken and interesting ideas that are coming through companies.

Bill: Along the way for you, are there any words of wisdom that you’d like to share with folks who’ve been sort of inspired by your story and the journey that you’ve taken up to this point of being CMO at continued?

Erin: Sure. I don’t know if I have words of wisdom, but I have words, I guess, always.

Bill: I’m sure they’re dripping with wisdom.

Erin: I guess I would say always be open every day for new opportunities to learn and be challenged. That’s the part for me that’s always been exciting. I learn so much every single day, and it helps. It helps to be open for that. It helps with a culture like this, but really in any culture that I’ve been in. People respect that and appreciate that openness. I’d also say really learn to communicate the right way with different people, different communication styles, and to have open and honest dialogue, and to learn how to respectfully disagree. That’s a hard skill to have, but so much good can come out of it, particularly if you work in an environment that allows for that.

Erin: I have been lucky enough, and I guess maybe I’ve chosen, to always work in environments where that’s the case. I’m that kind of person who will always maybe point out the elephant in the room. I’m so uncomfortable if everybody’s thinking the same thing but nobody ever says it. But I’ve really had to learn to hone that skill over time into saying it in the appropriate way. But there’s so much good collaboration and conversation that comes out of that. You’ve got to practice that over time, but really good communication skills will bring people far in their career.

Bill: Absolutely. Great words of absolute genuine wisdom.

Bill: Tony, bar is high here. What about you?

Tony: The bar is high. I think this is the part of the program that gets cut for time constraints. But look it, Erin has heard this from me far too much already, as has the team here at Allied Health Media. But three things I would encourage anybody to say at any point in their career are, “I don’t know,” “What do you think,” and, “That’s my fault.” In many organizations, those three lines can be seen as weaknesses, or lack of capability, or it leaves you exposed, and I just firmly believe the exact opposite.

Tony: I think if an individual can say those three things, they’re showing self-awareness and a desire to learn, they value other people’s perspectives, and they realize, “Look it, I’m not always right, so let me get another opinion here.” Then you’re willing to take some risks but then also be accountable for those risks. I mean, I’d love to work with folks every day who can say those things and a culture that accepts them every day of the week, and here at Allied Health Media with folks like Erin and the team, that’s exactly what we’ve got. I would encourage everybody to function in that capacity.

Bill: Terrific, and what a great way to end this. As somebody who has a lot of experience, as I do, with being wrong and not admitting it, those are good things to think through.

Bill: Erin, Tony, congrats on all that’s been accomplished, and I know neither of you are the type of folks who would ever seek to coast, and probably now is when the real fun and work begins with the brand architecture and sort of creative artifacts in place, and now it’s time to continue to execute and activate the full potential of this business. We’re really grateful for your time and insight, and thanks for being with us.

Tony: Thank you so much, Bill. It was our pleasure.

Erin: Thanks so much.

Bill: Many, many thanks to Tony and Erin. A lot of interesting elements of that conversation, at least if I may humbly say so. One, they’re both compelling executives with cool back stories and interesting perspectives. The remote nature of the culture at Allied Health Media is really distinctive, and it takes a special group of people, I think, to make that work, and if it does work, there are tremendous benefits both for productivity and for culture and everything else. Tony and Erin, I think, speak to that very strongly.

Bill: Then third, Allied Health Media as a company is a pioneer in sort of bringing together traditional educational content with the power and promise of technology, and continued, as that sort of sub-brand, does that. Simucase, which we dwelled on a little bit in our conversation, does that, too. It’s a simulation style of learning for speech language pathology students and faculty, as a way of bringing really practical case-oriented education, not only the regulatory need to amass those credits, but just the sort of learning capability. Really fascinating. Great group of people. We really thank them for their time and insight today.

Bill: We thank you for continuing to listen and bear with us here as we try to get back on our regular schedule here at Real-World Branding. There’s always three ways to support what we’re doing if you’re finding value in it. One is to rate us in the podcast store of your choice. Two is to subscribe to make sure that you don’t miss a one. Again, our aspiration is to get back to doing this weekly or at least bi-weekly. Then the third way is keep the dialogue going. Best way is probably on Twitter. Fire away comments and questions and ideas. We love the dialogue, and thank you all for the time that you dedicate to spending with us whenever one of these comes out. We’ll sign 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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