The day to day of your business is going to pull you all over the show, this way and that and even though you are dealing with the day to day ups and downs to a degree, you've got to start building something that's going to get you to where you want to be and good place to start involves getting you emotionally ready to do it. Your mindset, your focus, getting you thinking in the right way are all areas that we look into developing when starting the process of brand building because the magic won’t always happen with the brand engineer in a consultative process, it often happens in between consultations.
Marius: 00:00 Good afternoon Kyle.
Kyle: 00:01 Afternoon Marius.
Marius: 00:03 Thank you for joining us again. Now, the last few weeks we've discussed this thing of brand mentoring and being a brand engineer and so on. I'd like to take the conversation a bit further today by asking a question if you've got a reluctant client, a reluctant businessman, will that work for the brand manager or brand engineer?
Kyle: 00:27 No. The first requirement to having a successful relationship between myself and a client, a client that is deeply passionate and has a very strong vision for their business, you know, that stuff. That I would say that’s the first thing. It's not unheard of to deal with people that are a little bit, I'm not going to use the word negative, let's say that they're a little bit beat up by current circumstances so they feel a little bit dejected or a little bit down on things. Which happens to every business owner especially in South Africa unfortunately because often now our bigger news is not good news. So ja, that's not unusual but the passion, the drive has to be there. You really need to want it for it to be a success.
Marius: 01:13 Indeed. Kyle, isn't it a bit of a psychological thing for all of us to be exposed to something that we don't know a lot about. You know, a practical example would be, I've decided this is what I want to do but, I don't have the background or the knowledge or the experience or the expertise to do this by myself. Hence, I call Kyle and I say listen this is what I want to do. I want to brand this thing. I want to build it. I want to go ahead with this. But two seconds after that I run out of steam. Isn't there a bit of a psychological barrier, that we barge up against from time to time when doing something like this?
Kyle: 01:58 Ja, of course there is. What I do with all my clients is, I always talk about their mindset. Like how they're approaching things. Not only in terms of the two sides to the services that I provide. One is helping you put in the correct processes within the business to maximize your brand value and to give you that actual return from a monetary point of view. But at the same time to address both your culture of your organisation and then your mindset as the brand leader. So I focus quite a lot on that and I talk quite a lot about that with clients. I don't make it a formal, you know, lying on the couch and lighting some scented candles. I integrate it into the consultative process to remind them of things. There's certain traits that I found within brand builders that I've worked with, both personally but, also in terms of what I've seen out there and these really successful brands that I try and encourage, to remind my clients about and get their heads in the right space. So they're thinking about the right thing in the right way, if that makes sense.
Marius: 03:13 It does. Kyle, you mentioned something about being negative. Negativity. It does play a role and just before we started with the interview I mentioned that I heard or read something that the moment that you start telling yourself, I'm tired or I'm feeling ill or sick. That message actually goes through a million or more cells within the human body. And then we start believing that it's not possible or that I'm ill or that I don't feel well. If I have to ask you now sitting in your chair being in your shoes, what is expected of a great brand builder from your perspective doing what you do?
Kyle: 04:00 Well, I think that the number one thing is having a vision and having a deep passion for solving the problem that your brand is solving. One trait that I've seen which actually is, is a very strong one that, that I actually came across in doing research, you know. In terms of what, what have made some of the great brands in the world. And I found this trait where really strong brand builders are able to see an opportunity in the midst of a disaster. So, things are falling down, whether it's figuratively or literally around them. And they're able in the midst of that chaos to actually see an opportunity to actually come out of it even better than what you were before, before the disaster occurred. And this came out of research I initially saw with Coca-Cola. I was interested in was the history of the company, like where it came from, you know. A very small business with a pharmacist that came up with this recipe and how that's grown into this global megalithic enterprise. One of the things that grew that brand to being a global enterprise is actually World War Two. And that's quite an amazing thing when you think about it because you know, anyone who would look at a war and say this is an opportunity for me to grow my business and I'm not selling things that kill people so it's not the obvious choice which we would actually look at to be quite amazed. So, what the CEO of Coca-Cola did was he realised that this is an opportunity for him to grow his brand, both physically in terms of actually growing it and and mentally within the mindset of the market and what he did was he got coke declared as something that was critical to the morale of the troops. So, something that when these guys or girls are going to drink it out there in the trenches, they were going to feel a little bit better and we're going to remind them of home.
A really amazing story to come out of such a worldwide conflict. At the end of it this company had built something like 60 bottling plants across the world, had distributed almost 5 billion bottles of Coca Cola and more importantly, had 16 million servicemen and women coming back home, having experienced the product in a very dire and negative circumstance and the product gave them a little bit of joy, a little bit of happiness which obviously speaks to the Coca-Cola brand. So it's quite an interesting thing to see that people often think how did they get to be a global brand. Well, that clear vision of that CEO at that time where, when all other companies around them were looking at consolidation or just how are we going to survive this conflict because something that people need to remember when there's a war, is that the government starts to control everything. They put limits and quotas in place and most things. One of those things is definitely sugar. So I think, within the South African environment because of our situation and what the government does, we often get into that mindset. Well, it's up to the government or the government again have messed up and I understand that in many times they are doing, you know, they're not doing maybe the best job that they could be. But if you're really serious about your business and you're really serious about growing your brand. You need to be focused on the opportunities. You need to have this mindset of looking for a possible outcome that could even be better for you than before something occurred.
Marius: 08:01 Indeed. The other word or the phrase that comes up when I talk to you is the failure or the fear of failure so to speak and persistence. Just like you mentioned Coca-Cola now, I can think of a brand of chicken that that everybody knows, it's KFC. A certain Colonel Sanders perfected his recipe, went to 100 odd places and said "would you buy this?" And the answer was "No". So there was, there was failure but then persistence made him overcome that. And before we started with the interview you told me about Rocomamas, that it doesn't matter how well they do today, the owner of that franchise didn't start with this. He had a couple of failures. So again, it's a psychological thing. I failed, therefore I'm going to do nothing. But he didn't. He said well, I've failed two or three times. But I'm going to give it a go and look where they are today.
Kyle: 09:07 Ja, look, one of the big things I talk about a lot with just business people in general is, we learn seven times more from a failure than you do from a success. And there's a reason that a lot of companies or a lot of brands who taste success drop off from that quite quickly and that's because funny enough, being too successful too quickly without the struggle that lines you up to be blindsided by a potential disaster that you wouldn't have seen coming because you're kind of too, for lack of a better term - too arrogant you know, you've been successful so, you're not humble enough to do it. So I said to my clients you know, you might be focused on winning all the time because that's obviously what you want to do you want to win but the losses always help you win because when you lose and you learn then you're better off before the loss. And that's the kind of mindset of the Rocomamas found that he did. He looked at things and he looked at his failures and he framed them as opportunities to learn something so that he was better equipped for the next turnaround. I find it personally much much better to work with existing concerns that are going, rather than people that are talking about ideas that haven't been implemented or aren't doing well because then you don't have anything real to talk about.
If someone says I tried this but it failed. That's better than saying you can try anything because they really have nothing to talk about, nothing to work on. But that mindset is really critical because if you start framing your failures as things that take you down the hole, verses a step that helps you up the ladder which is a completely different flip between the two, you know. Then you're lining yourself up for a consistent long term failure and I think it's about self-esteem. I think it's about how you view yourself and understanding and letting yourself off the hook. Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world have come very close to complete and total failure on many times. And if you read famous entrepreneurs' autobiographies you'll be surprised how many of them faced bankruptcy, blacklisting, these types of things many times during the early parts of their career because they were learning things. They were figuring that out as they were going along. I mean Steve Jobs got fired from Apple for a reason. He was a bit of a cowboy you know, in the early days. So yeah, I think that understanding, that failure is a part of success. It's really critical for people to move forward.
Marius: 11:49 Indeed. And which brings me to the last point and this is this, if I'm a businessman and I'm good at baking pies or I'm good at fixing vehicles or whatever the case might be, those traits in terms of what I do for a living counts for me and I can take that further. The point being that I'm not a brand builder, I'm not a brand engineer. To figure these things out by yourself in the times that we live in, I think it's a bit dangerous to have somebody like you on my side saying this is what you do in terms of building your brand, creating the culture. I think there in lies the answer because you are there to be utilised. You there to be used you’re there to give advice and for me, who don't know anything about what we just talked about. It's with crazy thinking I can do it by myself and therefore my advice for the day is, get in contact with Kyle. He's the brand engineer, I'm not.
Kyle: 12:53 Ja, look I think that the main thing from my side where I see, what I help clients with, is focusing on the right things at the right time even when they don't want to focus on those things. Because the day to day of your business is going to pull you all over the show, this way and that and to have someone that is holding your vision for you and keeps reminding you - hey this is where we're going. So even though you are dealing with the day to day ups and downs to a degree, we've got to start building something that's going to get you to where you want to be. And then the second part is to get you emotionally ready to do it. Talk about your mindset, giving you focus, getting you thinking in the right way because the magic doesn't always happen with me in the consultative process, it often happens in between consultations. So, we talk about something, a seed gets planted and then the at the next one the ideas come together because we start to think and that's the main thing, keeping you on track, you know. If you want to get fitter, you go for a coach. If you want to lose weight you know, you get a personal trainer, that kind of stuff. Because that person knows where you want to be. They know the goals that you want to reach and they're going to help you along the way in terms of how to get there and that's really fundamentally what I find I'm focusing with people on, depending on what stage they're on within their business to keep their focus in the right areas.
Marius:14:17 Well said. Couldn't say it better. Kyle Rolfe, thanks a lot.
Kyle: 14:22 Thank you Marius.