In this episode, I sit down with Stuart Derman, the founder and CEO of Rello, a Utah-based marketing agency. Stuart has years of experience in the marketing industry and brings a unique perspective on building a brand and creating experiences... See show notes at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/e39-uncover-the-secrets-to-building-a-successful-brand-with-stuart-derman/#show-notes
In this episode, I sit down with Stuart Derman, the founder and CEO of Rello, a Utah-based marketing agency. Stuart has years of experience in the marketing industry and brings a unique perspective on building a brand and creating experiences. Tune in as Stuart and I discuss how to think beyond your logo and bring your brand to life through connecting with your community. Get inspired and learn from one of the top marketing experts in the game. Don't miss out on this exciting episode of the Remote Start Nation!
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Learn more about Remote Start Podcast at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/
Jim: What is up Remote Start Nation? Let's get something started. I'm Jim Doyon, your host, and I wanna welcome you to another episode of Remote Start. So those of you that have been listening to the show for a while, you already know that I'm extremely passionate about connecting brands to community and creating experiences. Anytime I get the chance to talk to others who are in this space and get as excited as I do about this topic, I'm on another level. So with that little lead in, I hope you can tell I'm super geeked about today's episode when I get to interview the founder and CEO of Rello, a Utah based marketing agency that's focused on helping great businesses scale. Stuart Derman has been in the marketing game for a long time. He's owned his own brand for two years, and he's the founder of the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival that works with outdoor adventure filmmakers from all over the globe. Today, him and I are gonna be discussing building a brand, creating experience and thinking beyond your logo. So with that, said, I wanna welcome Stewart to the show. Stuart, welcome to the Remote Start Nation.
Stuart: Thanks so much for having me, Jim.
Jim: Absolutely, man, I am so excited to have you and you know, Remote Start Nation, just to give you a little heads up, we, Stuart and I had about a 10 minute call before this, and we've already talked about meeting afterwards because I think he's a good, super good dude. And I think we could talk for hours, but we're gonna try to break down some really good value for you here in the next half an hour. So yeah, Stuart, I'm super stoked to have you on the show.
Stuart: No, really appreciate it, really excited to be part of this and yeah, excited to chat.
Jim: Awesome. And by the way, man, I noticed from LinkedIn you started the company two years ago in January, so happy two year anniversary.
Stuart: Thank you. Yeah, it's been an exciting ride and man, two years in it's fun, we're enjoying it.
Jim: What's the number one thing that gets you excited every day about running your company?
Stuart: Well, I work in marketing and so, you know, one of the things that is just so fun is we work with so many different clients from all around the world, and they're just so different, right? I love the intricacies of learning about a new business or even differences between businesses in the same space, and there's always something new, right? There's always a new challenge, something that you have to solve, it's never the same thing.
Jim: So true. I feel you there on that. That's one of the things that I love. So it's always different, it's always a different challenge. So tell us more about relo and, and what you guys do.
Stuart: Yeah, so Relo is a marketing agency that works a little bit different than most. And the reason that is what we do is we like to focus on building systems to help companies scale, right? There's a lot of people who will run ads., there's a lot of people who will do SEO work or branding work, but the reality is when a company's looking to grow, they need to have systems and processes in place to be able to handle leads, make sure that they're handled efficiently and be able to connect with those prospects as they come in and ultimately close those deals for them. So with that, we help companies with all the intricacies that come along with building that business and increasing their lead flow and making sure that all those sales. Are happening and everything's track as trackable as possible, and you can really build a scalable platform without having to scale your expenses.
Jim: I love that and I can't wait to hear more about that as we continue to talk. So how'd you get started? Let's talk about what you did before and how you started your own brand.
Stuart: Yeah, so I mean, I got my start working in tech startups on the in-house marketing side, and then eventually transitioned over to the agency side where I got to a place where I was running a digital department and another agency. But just realized there was such an opportunity to help these brands if we kind of adjusted the way that we were working with them. So that's where I kind of got the idea to start Relo of changing the model a little bit and you know, fortunately, like you said, two years later, here we are, we're working with some great clients and you know, it's kind of proven that there really is a need in the marketplace, for what we're doing.
Jim: That's awesome, man. We had talked a little bit before about building a brand and it means, you know, it means investing in tactics that don't necessarily have a direct ROI. What do you mean by that? Explain that a little bit more for the audience.
Stuart: Yeah, so there's, with marketing, you're dealing with emotion, right? And so there's intangibles when it comes to emotion, there's all different things that we can track these days. We can track clicks coming from an ad. to a landing page to leads, to sales, but there's always this piece, we just can't quite quantify and what's happened, I think over the last six or seven years, a lot of companies have gotten lazy thinking that, you know, you can just pump a bunch of money into Facebook and Instagram and print money on the backend. And the reality is we've seen a huge change ever since, Apple's iOS 14 update, where ultimately these platforms that were just delivering results that seem too good to be true, they're not anymore. And the brands or the companies I should say that haven't put in the hard work on building their brand and investing in tax tactics and assets that really connect with people on an emotional level. They're getting crushed right now. And they're realizing that they, they have a lot of work ahead of them to build up an effective marketing program, where they didn't have to necessarily go to that level of depth in the past to get some level of success.
Jim: So talk to me about what you walk your clients through and some of the tactics, and some of you know this, the system that you, they need to build on to in order to improve their brand.
Stuart: Yeah, so I mean, there's definitely gonna be elements of this that are different from company to company and their space, how they interact with clients, whether they're BTB, BTC, but from a foundational level, we, we start with really doing good quality, in-depth research on the consumers, getting back to the basics of marketing that people have just not been implementing for a long time, which is really understanding, you know who is the ideal consumer and what is it that they're looking for? What is their journey? Who are they considering along the way? How are they going about that process of evaluating who they want to purchase from, and then building a plan around that rather than saying, here's some tactics we want to implement. Let's run with, well let's run with those, we take that step back. We look at how people are actually doing that process of figuring out what they wanna buy and how they want to go about buying it and build something that is suited to the way that the consumer's already looking âcause if you have to, if you're trying to educate and con and drive a consumer that's not already looking for something in the way that they want to be reach. That's a whole another mountain to climb that most brands don't have the resources to properly execute on.
Jim: That's, I think to your point there, before a brand spends money on advertising, they need to do a serious, serious stop and think about who their customer is, and not only who their customer is, but where their customer's hanging out, what they're doing, who's up? I like to look at it like, that the customer, where their customer's at as well as what's above the customer, what organizations they belong in, what groups they're hanging out in, and then below, like you know, are do they have kids, do they have pets, do they have, like who else is in their environment to truly understand and then go spend the money on advertising. And I see it all the time, customers come to me and say, Hey, we spent so much money on advertising and we haven't been able to do X, Y, and Z that we wanted to do. And it's like, okay. The agency you went with, what did they do? Well, they just, we had a five minute call on what we wanted to accomplish, and then they started spending money.
Stuart: Well, and you know, I can't say it's entirely on the fault of the agency. I think there's a lot of agencies out there that, you know, they're not, they're the people they're talking to because they don't understand the work that needs to be put in, I think they're also put in a position where it's like, Hey, here's an opportunity for us to bring on a new client. They don't really want to invest in all this background work to make the campaign successful, they just wanna run something and you know, there's a mentality it's gonna run with us or it's gonna run with someone else. You know, I think what needs to happen is, um, agencies kind of need to step up to the plate and start bringing their expertise rather than being order takers.
Jim: I couldn't agree with you more, something that you and I talked about a little bit before that I know we hear a lot about, and I've talked a lot about it on the show remarks, Remote Start Nation. You've heard me talk about your logo. Isn't just your brand, there's way more behind your brand than your logo. And you know, to your point, Stuart, you wanted to talk about investing in an experience, and I love this topic and I'd love to hear you talk more about this.
Stuart: Yeah, I mean, experience is everything, right? Like you mentioned, I run the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival in addition to my agency, and that's all about experience, it's about storytelling and getting people ultimately connect with stories, right? And so if you can, if you can tell a story, if you can share an experience with someone, they're gonna connect with who you are, who your brand is they understand you and I believe that as people we all wanna work with, people that we can identify with, we can understand it. It reduces the friction and the relationship so much and just makes it a natural conversation of, yeah, of course I'm gonna work with you, of course I'm gonna go buy that product that's, you know, 30% higher in cost because I identify with that brand, I connect with it on a deep emotional level, even if I'm not aware of it at the time.
Jim: Yeah, so true. So when someone starts their brand and you know, they have a logo that they had a friend do or someone else, or maybe they did pay an agency to do it, there's so much more that goes behind that, into the identity. What are some of the things that you walk a client through when they come in and, you know, really trying to understand themselves?
Stuart: I think that starts with really having some very deep conversations initially on who you are and what you believe, right? Because all of that gets tied into the brand and, you know, that's also, that's ultimately gonna figure out your position because. There's a lot of different companies out there, most likely that do either exactly or something very similar to what you do, and it's all about your positioning. If you don't have that figured out, then you don't have anything to work off of. So once you have that positioning figured out, then you can start creating content, then you can start talking to people, you can start sharing people with, sharing with people your story. Why it is that they should even listen to you in the first place, right? We're all vying as marketers for the same people's attention again and again. And you know, there's more as a consumer that you have to sift through on a day-to-day basis. You need to give people a reason to engage, just 'cause you put something in front of them doesn't mean that they're gone.
Jim: And again, that I think to your point about understanding your positioning, like it goes back to, you know, really doing that deep dive to your customer and understanding first who you are and then really trying to figure out the perfect customer for you. And then I think a lot of that, it kind of falls into place.
Stuart: Yeah, no, it definitely does. And I also think that there's, you know, also an area where a lot of companies, they, they constantly feel the need to change up and switch everything that they're doing because they feel like it's getting stale. But what the reality is, what they're doing is if they haven't had decades of brand building work put in, they're just diluting their message and they're not clarifying who they are, right? Internally, you have an idea of who you are, you've probably seen these assets again and again but that doesn't mean that you know someone on the street who's seeing your ad for the first time has ever interacted with you, and you need to have all of those touchpoints again and again and again, in order for that brand to connect with them.
Jim: Right. It's about the cohesiveness of it. And you know, I look at it too, a lot of times when brands are just starting out, companies are starting out and they, like, you just said it as well, like, they know internally, they feel it, they know their message or you know, I can even tell you when my business partner and I started our clothing brand back in the day, like we handle all the customer service and we knew what to do, we knew what to say, we took care of everybody that came, came across and there was an issue. And a lot of times it was, we gained more clients because of the way we handled, you know, it might have been a quality issue or whatever it was. The problem came when we scale, and we got to a point where we had, you know, three, four different people handling, you know, clients and customer service and whatever else. And if we didn't have steps and things in place for them to follow, that was on brand, a lot of that brand gets lost a lot of the, you know, voice of the brand and the way you handle situations is lost because now we're working on other things within the company. So I think that's such an important thing, that that brand is a scale every, they have to remember.
Stuart: Every interaction that a person has with your company is either an opportunity to build upon the brand you've already been working on, or an opportunity to tear it all down. And it's a lot easier to tear it down than build it up.
Jim: That's so true. You had talked about, you know, creating consistent and repeatable experience and that's what you do for your clients. Can you talk on that a little bit more?
Stuart: Yeah, so a lot of that comes down to understanding how consumers interact with your business. A lot of the companies we're dealing with are either BTB, so they're dealing directly with usually C-level executives at brands or they're direct to consumer and they're going out and directly pulling in people and, you know, trying to market to them once they've captured their information. And so with that from a digital standpoint, there are so many ways that we can impact that experience and improve it, right? Anytime there's a manual process that's in place, it's an opportunity for, like you said, someone to screw it up. And we see it time and time again, like for example, we do a lot of work with solar companies. We, that's actually one of our big specialties and in solar specifically, there's so many different pieces to that process of getting someone from, I'm interested in installing solar panels on my roof to it, the system's installed that's up and running, and along that way there are thousands of places where. They can completely destroy that relationship, and those brands are, it's so expensive to acquire someone from a digital ad in that space that they rely heavily on referrals and from, that are driven from the installs that they've already done. And so we work with those companies to make sure that they button down that process and they've got it dialed in so that way they can reduce those follow up and CR and not just that, but create amazing experiences for them that just blow them.
Jim: That's, yeah. That's interesting. So for the Remote Start Nation listening and a business as a business owner, you know, let's hit on the touchpoints a little bit so, at what are some of the different touchpoints points that us as owners should be looking at to make sure that user experiences as the, the best it can be?
Stuart: Yeah. I mean, right off the bat, the second someone lands on your website, how are you communicating with them? Is, are not only are things functioning properly, which it's shocking how often they're not, but how do we, how do we elevate that experience and create something that, really surprises them? And then from that point that someone puts their information in, most companies think, okay, the deal's done. We've gotten their information, we throw some salesperson at them and get and close the deal. But that's where a lot of companies I think get it wrong, is they don't invest in that part of the process from the second someone fills out a form through the sale, and how do we nurture that opportunity, not just how do we improve our conversion rate, but how do we create better experiences so that. When the second that someone's onboarded on, say, a SAAS product, they're, they're thrilled, they're excited, they're not, okay. We made it across the finish line and we have access to the product. Now they're thrilled to use it, and they're gonna refer all their friends, and that is so important.
Jim: So what are some, so what are some things? I'm with you and I'm, I'm sorry to cut you off there. What are some things on that point? So you've got someone interested, they've filled out your form, like what are some touchpoint, what are some things that you can do to increase that experience where they're gonna be absolutely thrilled?
Stuart: Yeah, so there's a few ways. I mean, and all of this ultimately comes back to having really good technology in place. So we use HubSpot, we use Active Campaign. There's a bunch of different automation tools, that we work with heavily, but nurturing people along the way, having systems in place where, you know, the second that something is done from, you know, an implementation standpoint on the business. It notifies people, you know, you get a nice email from someone that you know at the company saying, Hey, we know, you know, we're working on your project, and this piece just got done. Just wanted to give you a heads up that this is happening, it's amazing how those little emails, those little touchpoints along a complicated onboarding process, can just completely change someone's perspective, like communication is usually the breakdown of most, for most bad interactions, right? And so if we can reduce that, then people are gonna be thrilled. I know. It also reduces businesses expenses cause you're not having to pay for a mountain of customer service effort.
Jim: A lot of times we see if we can get ahead, like for our agency, if we can communicate before the customer has to ask a question, you know, and for us, in my case, it's with merchandise, right? So if we can let a customer know, like, Hey, this is where your order's at, this is the expected due date to deliver, they're stoked, they're so stoked.
Jim: Yeah. And it's, you're right to your point, it's simple.
Stuart: Yeah. It's not, that's the thing that blows my mind about it, is it's not a complex concept. It's just not done very well in a lot of companies. And so that's really where, where we find like there's so much value in helping brands figure that piece out. And you know, we, there's a lot of areas where, you know, we'll help them, part of it is on, you know, building those systems, part of it is, you know, working with creative agencies to up their design, and then also, you know, there's also a sales consulting piece of it too, where a lot of sales reps, they're not necessarily trained on the brand, right? They're trained on the product, they're trained on how to sell a product, but they don't necessarily know, okay, what is this brand value and how do I apply that in whatever situation that I'm facing.
Jim: That's huge, that's a great call. It's those touchpoints and what we're doing and every person in the company being on the same page. You know, and honestly, it goes back to what we said in the beginning, it's like having that, you know, like brand guidelines or you know, understanding your position, understanding your values and everything else that goes into your brand and how the rest of the company sees that.
Jim: That's, yeah. I'm excited man. This has been great. Let's talk about, you know, with you mentioned earlier, you know, about Facebook and Apple, the you know, the new, what was it again that you had mentioned?
Stuart: Yeah, it was update from a couple years ago.
Jim: Yeah. So, you know what that's done is it's made brands really have to try harder on to reach their audience, right?
Jim: So what are some of the things that you're seeing in, you know, maybe upcoming this year, 2023, that brands need to be on the lookout for and start to really think about as, you know, trying to get in front of their audience?
Stuart: Yeah, so I mean there's definitely some brands that have had a bigger struggle with this than others, depending on who they're trying to reach, but the big thing that I think people need to get back to and remember is what are they putting out there, right? There are, is there message really resonating with people? Are you actually testing that or are you just guessing, because you, I think what we've learned in the past couple years is we can't just afford to guess anymore, we can't hit publish the campaign and say, yeah, we'll make adjustments later, we have to do the hard work upfront of figuring out what the right thing to put in front of the audience, and then we'll refine from there the intricacies of it. Because there's always things that can be improved, but you can't have these broad campaigns that get pushed out and say, yes, we'll get more.
Jim: What do you think for brands this year for direct to consumer brands, what do you think is the gonna be the best way to get in front of their audience, from like, what platform, I should say?
Stuart: I actually would make the argument that direct to consumer brands need to get back to more experiential marketing rather than digital. As a shop that does a ton of digital work, I don't believe that that can profitably be your primary source of customer acquisition anymore? I've seen so many brands get crushed because the numbers just don't work. And the cost for clicks get more expensive every year. There's just more competition for the same number of impressions.
Jim: I couldn't agree more, first of all, and I think that's something that, number one, from a brand standpoint, getting in front face to face in that experiential marketing stance and getting to talk to your customer and understand how they react to your brand, not from behind a computer, but face to face, I think is priceless. I think it's something that no matter where your brand's, in level of growth, I feel it's something that should always be done. And that's I what you just said as well, right?
Stuart: Yeah. And I think that digital definitely, don't get me wrong, digital definitely still has its place, but I see digital now, and when I say that specifically social media and any kind of pay per click display advertising, I see that as more of a nurturing opportunity to stay top of mind than prospecting, right? New people you haven't interacted with, you shouldn't be trying to reach them all through digital traffic acquisition. The numbers just aren't gonna work from a customer acquisition standpoint, you need to have impactful experiences that drive consumers to really have a strong connection with who you are and what you're doing.
Jim: And even there to that point, when you're there in front of those com, those customers, it's having, again, the different touchpoints set up to have the best experience they can. And that's, you know, are you doing giveaways? Are you doing, you know, capturing email and letting them know you're gonna follow up with some value for them and you know what's gonna come after that interaction? And I see firsthand a lot of companies, they miss out on that. They might even go set up a booth somewhere and go aver or market and then like, okay, you gave away a bunch of product, how are you following up? How do you know who you just gave that to?
Stuart: Yeah, no, you're spot on. And I think the, if we can kinda reduce all of these concepts down to two things, I think it is, really going to be intentionality behind what you're doing and having the sophistication to handle all of that properly.
Jim: Yeah, I'm with you, that's spot on. What are I have a couple questions here, we don't have much more time, but you know, number one, before I get into the last couple questions, let people know where they can find you.
Stuart: Yeah. So, you can find me, at Relo. So relloagency.com is our website, you can also follow us on LinkedIn, we're pretty active there. And you can find me personally on Instagram just @StuartDerman.
Jim: Is that, do you have, like on your website is if people wanted to connect with you, is it a form they fill out? Is do they call? What's the best?
Stuart: Yeah, so if you just go to, we have requested proposal right at the top of our homepage and our menu or contact us through our contact page, that's the best way for us to kind of start the process and evaluate if we're a good fit or if there's an opportunity for partnership.
Jim: Awesome. So we talked a little bit about, you know, what's the best for direct to consumer, you know in this year coming up and the best way to get in front of their audience. What do you think, you know, from a BTB standpoint, what should businesses be doing to get in front of their customer?
Stuart: You know, I think, as much as people like to say that email is dead, there is still such a powerful opportunity when done right and not in a spammy way. I think email to generate real person to person conversations, the days of the old email blast I think are dying, but building real personal connections and being authentic about it, right. Don't send to a list of 10,000 people and hope for a good response. Build intentional email lists and reach out to people who you think are actually a good fit and know that they are based on several categories that youâ¦
Jim: That's a good call. I just had another interview for the podcast that'll, that, is gonna air around the same time as this, that I spoke with a gentleman that, that's what he does is email marketing. And it was a big topic that, you know, people think email's dead, but in all reality, it's still there if you can learn how to have the right conversation.
Stuart: And it's still on audience, primary drivers of new customer acquisition for a ton of businesses.
Jim: Absolutely. So we talked about a lot today, we went through a lot of it fast. If there's one ending statement, one thing that you wanna make sure that the Remote Start Nation listens to and can put into action right away that we talked about today, or something we didn't hit on, what would that be?
Stuart: I would say that it's building intelligent marketing systems. It's being very intentional and thoughtful about how you're going about connecting with consumers and building systems around it. One-off campaigns, one-off anything doesn't work that well if you're really trying to scale. If you want to grow your business, you need to pro, you need to produce reliably predictable results and you have to build systems in order to make that happen.
Jim: Excellent. One last question, when you're working music or no music?
Stuart: Oh, definitely music.
Jim: And what would that music choice be?
Stuart: I love EDM music while I'm working. That is the only thing I don't like lyrics, I just like a good beat and it, I can work all day.
Jim: That's awesome, man. I listen to all kinds of different music, but lately I've been on a total EDM and chill kick where it's a lot of beats, like it's very just, you get in the rhythm and you just go. When you're skiing.
Stuart: And when I'm skiing. That's, great.
Jim: Awesome. Well, Stuart, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it, man.
Stuart: Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Jim. Really appreciate it, and looking forward to chatting soon.
Jim: Yeah, absolutely. Well, remote Start Nation, I hope you learned as much as I did today and you could put some of the value that Stuart shared to work for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for joining me on this journey as I help you to start a business, grow your brand, and create your desired lifestyle.
Remember, leave a comment, subscribe, and most importantly, share this episode with your community who you think could learn from what you heard today. Until next time, go start something, start today and go build a lifestyle you desire by taking action.
My name is Jim Doyon. I'm a father to three awesome kids, husband to an incredible wife and the oldest sibling to a large split family.I'm currently on a mission and I can't wait to share with you. We sold our house back in 2020, and we've been traveling this beautiful country in a 42-foot Travel trailer ever since. We visited 34 states, and are about to embark on our second loop around the country, stopping at some of our favorite spots again, but also getting to see new areas that the US has to offer.We are trying to experience this life to its fullest spending quality time together. I'm running a business and building brands along the road. We've been fortunate enough on this journey to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and family on many of our stops. We love exploring each City from downtown's to the natural resources it has to offer. I'm passionate about mountain biking and it's not only in my way to get out and explore but to exercise, clear my head, think, and strategize.
Stuart Derman is a marketing strategist, nonprofit leader, and consultant. He focuses on disrupting traditional approaches by providing value above and beyond anything else. When people connect over value, amazing things happen.
Stuart seeks to connect people overvalue - whether in business connecting people with technology enabling them to improve their work or with the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival reconnecting people with the wilderness through film, the focus remains on value.
Stuart Derman's specialties are digital marketing, entrepreneurship and branding, and content.
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