Peter Brennan — How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Entrepreneur.

25 May 2020 | Episode 5
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Peter Brennan is an award-winning designer with over 20 years experience, across three continents. He’s a keynote speaker and the Founder & Creative Director of Electric And Analog – a brand, content and design studio based in Sydney, Australia. 

In this episode Peter shares what it’s like to go through a business break-up, putting in measures to survive and thrive through a pandemic, the confidence to ask for help from people you admire, getting through burnout and discovering your purpose.   

Connect with Peter on LinkedIn.

 

Peter’s profile: 

Peter Brennan is a multi award-winning designer, entrepreneur and creative agency owner who has worked with brands such as Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Byron Bay Tea Company, the NRL and AMP to name a few. He has an interesting story to tell: born in England, he grew up in South Africa, and has lived in Australia for the last 8 years.  He owns and runs Electric And Analog – a brand, content and design studio based in Sydney.  He created Viewpop – a 3D photo app – that made the Top 10 startups at Web Summit in Dublin 2 years in a row, and was a week away from selling it to one of China’s largest multinationals before Donald Trump got in the way.  He once got hijacked and had a gun stuck in his mouth and the trigger pulled.  He flew to Tokyo and pitched to the founder of Softbank who wore slippers and a dressing gown.  An ex-CIA agent once invested in his startup. 

Peter watched his own dad go from being a millionaire to an abusive alcoholic who went bankrupt, and was under so much financial pressure that he eventually took his own life. As a kid, Peter’s refuge from the family anarchy was drawing with crayons.  He took art at school and progressed to study graphic design and ultimately work in advertising. He became obsessed with how good design & creative thinking can make businesses and the lives of those who run them infinitely better.  After a career in and around the creative industry, he started his own design studio – Electric And Analog – in 2016.  Combining design, innovation and technology to make companies better is why he gets out of bed in the morning.  His vision is to help business owners craft a clear and powerful brand that tells their story and connects with their audience so that they have the time and focus to manage and grow the business of their dreams.

 

Episode Contents:

  • Why people love brands 
  • Branding for CBD Oil and Marijuana 
  • Going through a business break-up 
  • Staying in your own lane and being focused
  • The perils of outsourcing and being the ‘middle-man’ 
  • Developing your own process
  • How to survive a pandemic
  • Using Linkedin as a design studio to build network 
  • How recruitment sales changed how he builds relationships
  • The shortfalls of Full Service Agencies 
  • Discussing pricing methods 
  • Why he avoids pitching 
  • Thinking differently to get people’s attention 
  • 90min focus sprints — productivity hacks 
  • Getting through burnout with journaling
  • His first keynote presentation
  • Finding your purpose
  • Planning an effective day

 

Bonus section: The importance of product first, marketing second, brand third. 

Drawing on the many parallels between Electric And Analog and DSR Branding, we discussed: 

  • The importance of being selective with new clients. 
  • How to push back on clients’ ideas
  • How to be constructive to clients
  • The importance of following a process
  • The power of word of mouth referrals.

Read Transcript

Please note, this transcript was done through AI software and is not 100% accurate.

Dan:
Hi, this is Dan Rowell, founder and brand strategist at DSR Branding. And you are listening to Discover Someone Remarkable Conversations Worth Sharing. Join me as I interview passionate founders and industry experts. People who think differently, challenge the status quo and are building a legacy. People who I consider truly remarkable.

Dan:
In today’s episode, I interview Peter Brennan, an award winning designer with over 20 years experience across three continents. He’s a keynote speaker and the Founder & Creative Director of Electric And Analog, a brand content and design studio based in Sydney, Australia. Peter was introduced to us by mutual friend Craig Black, who appeared on Episode three. And I’m very grateful for that introduction. He shares what it’s like to go through a business breakup, putting in measures to survive and thrive through a pandemic. The confidence to ask for help from people you admire, going through burnout and discovering your purpose, whether you’re a designer, business owner, or you just love hearing great stories from the creative entrepreneur. There’s plenty of takeaways and insights in this episode.

Dan:
I especially love Pete’s stories about getting creative to get face time with industry leaders and his productivity hacks. Peter is bright, genuine and honest, and I found his story motivating and inspiring. I hope you enjoy this conversation.

Dan:
Just a warning. This episode features some colorful language.

Dan:
Well, hey Pete, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Peter:
Awesome!

Dan:
Mate, to kick things off, so we like to ask all of our guests a bit of an icebreaker question. And I think you will probably have a pretty good answer for this one, given your background. But what’s your favorite brand and why?

Peter:
This is an interesting one. And it’s really a you know, one of those halam is a piece of string type questions. And I could talk about this for days on end. I really could. I have a few favorite brands. The obvious ones like Apple. I’m a big fan of monarchal as well, those kind of things. But for me, I think, you know, brands that resonate deeply and stand for something you believe in is something that kind of allows it to be a favorite brand. And I think, you know, this should be delivered in a really clear and simple way, which is often really, really hard to execute. You know, we always talk about that kiss analogy of keep it simple, stupid. And that’s that’s really harder said than done. So there’s a number of boxes that I feel like a brand is to take to make them the favorite brand list. You know, the first job is to get the attention of a potential customer. So it needs to be created in a way that gets kind of noticed him. It’s the noise. And that’s what really Real’s U.N. So for me, a lot of that’s done on aesthetics. You know, the look and feel, that’s kind of fluffy stuff. But we go super micro and look at things like typography and color palettes and imagery and tone of voice and all that kind of stuff like that.

Peter:
And I fanaticized about this stuff like my wife goes mad. Go out for dinner at a restaurant. Clearly before freak Coronanvirus days. And I’ll be like, oh, my God, look at this funt on a menu. And she just rolls her eyes and just like, oh, my God, you’re such a geek. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me super excited. So, you know, I think brands have to be different. I think needs to have meaning and needs to engage people on an emotional level. And that’s what makes people, I feel, become diehard fans of a brand. People love brands because they share the same point of view as they do. And this makes them kind of this museum into the aspirational territory. And that’s why, you know, people queue for days and spend thousands of dollars on a pair of uses when they’re you know, they’re made in a very similar way that a pair of vans cost 100 bucks a and that’s why that’s so people react to brands that way. To get back to your question. I’m a really big fan of Aesop. I think what they’ve done in terms of simplicity and kind of less is more approach is really, really well done. I recently discovered Mad Men.

Peter:
I was and I was actually in L.A. from my best friend’s fortieth in October. And I don’t you’ve heard of Mad Men, but it’s kind of like strange on it’s kind of like it’s an Apple store for marijuana. It’s ridiculous. You kind of. It’s obviously legal in the States, but you go in there and it’s it’s literally I go into an Apple store, there’s there’s kind of iPods, iPads at screens that you can kind of explore everything. And then someone comes up and really is really helpful and talks you through it. And they actually they got my attention and more. They’ve engaged Spike Jones to be a brand video recently. Oh, wow. Or the new normal. Yeah, it’s insane. It’s about, you know, the history of the plant. And, you know, people spending years in jail. And now, you know, companies like madmen are essentially creating a new normal where you can go into a grocery shop and pick up some marijuana on the way home. And it’s become kind of accepted in certain parts of land. It’s pretty nice to check it out when you have a gap.

Dan:
It is amazing. Like the CBD market over in the States has just blown up like I mean, I was in New York last year. And yeah, it’s amazing how beautiful some of the brands aesthetically anyway, are popping up. And obviously, guys, because it’s legal now, they’re getting all the, you know, big name brand ambassadors and it’s just becoming a crazy market. I really think once our government sees the amount that they make from it in tax or they’re seen and it’s sort of like I think it’s only a matter of time. Yeah. Not not that I’m a big advocate for it, but at the same time, I think I think it’s just a sort of inevitable.

Peter:
Yeah, I agree. And I think it’s going to be interesting to see what it does to everything else. You know, like, you know, I’ve got views on alcohol and cigarettes and things like that, you know, I mean, smoking back in the day. And I, like John Wayne, would smoke a cigar and was a really cool thing to do. You know, like it was it was awesome. And I kind of feel like alcohol myco that way as well. You know, like I mean, you know, we moved over here from London eight years ago and I live in Valley. I go down to the beach in Mallyon of someone was having a cigarette on the beach. Like people were looking at that person, like they just stolen someone’s Christmas presents. You know, it’s just like, how dare you?

Dan:
Like in the current situation, like coughing at the supermarket, it would just be very proud of his answer.

Peter:
Yeah. And I think there’s a delicate ecosystem of things like that. You know, lack of CBD thing becomes a thing in Australia. I think it’s going to have a kind of an effect on on other brands and other products within that within where we play in that kind of, you know, recreational downtime, you know, like having a glass of wine or whatever it is you do and you when you get some downtime. So it can be interesting thing to keep an eye on for sure.

Dan:
Yeah, completely. Yeah. No, though. I just checked madmen out. It looks looks really cool after include the link in the show notes. So looking at the last 12 months. Can you share with me the like a really big highlight from that or, you know, maybe one of the biggest challenges.

Peter:
Yeah, for sure. The last 12 months for us as electric in analog was a really challenging twelve months of. If I’m completely honest for one of the main reasons I had to barter business partner. It’s really not a nice thing to go through. You know, on one hand, you know, things aren’t right and they have to change. But on the other hand, you’re dealing with a human being and it gets incredibly emotional and it’s feelings involved. And it was a tricky thing for us to navigate through. That stuff can really take a strain on you from a mental health and emotional well-being point of view. So we had to navigate through that, which is not a very nice experience. But we came out the other end of it and everyone’s kind of still good friends and all in a good place and moving forward, I guess a positive thing to come out of that. And it kind of made us realize that we needed to change as a business in terms of how we operate and how do we provide a real value for the clients that we work with. So, you know, like a lot of young businesses, we the first four years we just said yes to everything that came away with their brief and a dollar sign and a budget attached to it.

Peter:
And we go, yeah, of course we can do that. And we take it on and we scratch our heads. But we’d know I guess we’d know somebody who knew somebody who will be able to deliver it. So we kind of outsource it or bring a freelancer in, which is the same thing. But the problem with that is you become like the middleman as a business and you’re dealing with the clients kind of you know, you’re trying to be empathetic and deal with the clients of how they what they need or what they want to get done. And that you’re dealing with a supplier who is like charging by the hour or by the day. And it just becomes messy. And we just gone to a place where we just weren’t making any margin. So, you know, coming through all of that, it made us realize, all right, we need to define what we’re good at. You know, we’re a brand design and content agency. We create or reinvent brands. We design things like websites and packaging and products and that kind of thing.

Peter:
And we create content in the form of brand videos or photo shoots for lifestyle photography or product photography, whatever might be. So I guess what that did was allow us to go. All right. Like, what are we really good at? Where can we provide actual genuine value to the people we work with? And it was around those three kind of pillars. So what that made us do was actually kind of really double down in that space.

Peter:
And we have a really nice thing to come out of it is which credit a what we call the six step process to creating an electric brand. And it’s six steps over six weeks. And what we define is electric brand as a brand that stands out from the crowd, has a diehard fan base, drives sales and business that makes the people that run that company infinitely better. So that was really a positive thing. Come out of the negative, I suppose. And it’s been a big highlight for the last 12 months. We’ve really defined how we operate as a studio now. And yeah, the press just in are putting like we’ve been the last few months. We’ve been kind of bringing clients into that process. And it’s we kind of refining as we go. But it’s you know, you come out the other end where you get a really solid return on investment. There’s a brand that means something. It stands as something people are genuinely excited to get out of bed and go to work again. So that’s been a really positive thing. So it’s been an emotional 12 months, but we’re feeling good about things going forward.

Dan:
Yeah, I think looking at your site and looking at the work that you do like, it’s great to see. I think you guys have really nailed your positioning in terms of a really, you know, firm understanding of a focus area of that brand design and content. And I think finally, once you’ve narrowed that focus, I guess it helps makes the work that you do so much more impactful, like it allows you to do so much more impactful work because you’re only you’re sort of just only focusing on your strengths and then just doubling down on that. It’s not like, you know, stuff that sort of in the peripheral that takes longer, that sort of distracts you from the valuable work that you’re doing.

Peter:
Yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, as a young business owners, it’s very easy become a jack of all trades, master of none. And that’s just not good for anybody, you know, like you. Yeah. I think a lot of people do. And I think it’s something you have to go through in the early days and figure out the hard way because, you know, you kind of have these have this gut feels about things and you think it’s the right thing to do at the time. And then, you know, you get halfway through and you like, we shouldn’t have done this as a company man. We’re like we’ve taken someone’s money. And we had we had some horror stories a few years ago. You know, we had a client, we did a rebrand Peter worked for and they said, oh, we need some PR work done. And we went, you can do that. No problem. We outsource it to a PR agency we’ve never worked with before. And it would just come a headache. And we actually had to give the clients a refund on a pretty large piece of money for us. That really, really hurt, particularly when your you know, as a creative person, I get nosebleeds from Excel spreadsheets and finance. So, yeah, it’s when you get paid an amount of money, it’s almost been spent on something, you know, that you needed, like a new camera or something like that that you need within the business. So to give money back like that really hurts. And it’s something I don’t know. I think learning the hard way sometimes is often the best way to learn, because you learn at the real hard way he like, you know, I mean, it’s like someone telling you it’s actually you’re experiencing that negative experience of doing the wrong thing and that teaches you not to do that ever again.

Dan:
Yeah, like touching a hot plate or a hot frying pan, like how it’s mentally scarring. It’s hard to go through, but you don’t make that bloody awful mistake again. Exactly.

Dan:
You’ve come out of of bein out a business partner and then smack bang march hits and and we go into isolation and lockdown. So its timing hasn’t been great. It’s surreal, isn’t it? Electric, an analog coping through isolation and all this Covid-19 stuff.

Peter:
Yeah, it’s been interesting. You know, the first thing that I did personally like when I like I, I watch the news every morning and every night I go to bed just to keep on top of the world. I always have. And, you know, when it started becoming pretty evident, we’re like, okay. Like this is that we need to kind of plan for this. But how do you plan for that? No one knew how big it was gonna be. No one knew the impact it was going to have. Yes. People have been talking about another recession coming for years, etc, etc, but so we in all honesty, we didn’t know what to do. So we what I did as a tactic is I went on to LinkedIn and I just started researching people who are more experienced than me and running a business. More experience in particularly running a creative business, people who who are older than me, you know, I call those kind of people and virtual mentors that don’t know me from a bar of soap. But but I feel like there’s people out there that they don’t have to know who you are, but you can learn something from them either directly or through the content or, you know, whether it’s written or video or whatever they put up. And I reached out to six people and there were people like Chris Savage, who is kind of an old school industry guy. There’s this guy named Nick Parker who’s running an agency called Light Creative in Brisbane for nearly 20 years now. And I just hit them up and I said, hey, guys like you don’t know me. I don’t know you. I run a creative agency. We’re into year for obviously we’re concerned. Could we get on a video call for ten, fifteen minutes to, you know, just pick your brain about some questions? And they all said yes. And I had over an hour long call with every single one of those people. And interesting enough, they all said the same thing.

Peter:
They said, if you can if you can get your costs down and provide value throughout this time, however long it’s going to be, and you’ll come at the other end. And it was quite interesting because none of these people were and we’re kind of interlinked with each other in any way. But they all said the same thing. And, you know, providing value is however you want to define that. Is it actually doing free work for people? Is it doing reduced cost work for people? Is it creating content that you share on social that provides value to your community and your audience? It’s probably all of those and more. There’s no kind of rule on like yes, do this and don’t do that. I think it’s all just how do you provide value, honestly. But all everyone I spoke to said the same thing. They said they’d done that. And they said the interesting thing that happened was their competition went out of business for the most part because they hadn’t done that. And they said when this whole thing becomes over, you know, ends and it’s over. They said it really just overnight things change. People start spending again. And if you’re the business that provided value to them through the downtimes, then they start spending with you.

Peter:
And, you know, each person I spoke to said the next three or four years after every downturn they had with the most lucrative few years, it had as a business. So I think, you know, now is really a time to survive now and and thrive at the other end of it. That can be quite tricky. Like, we had to go pretty micro, like we literally went to our accountant just like, can we just have a print out of every single thing that we spend? And, you know, something as simple as making a spreadsheet of like, you know, like subscriptions to things that you probably haven’t used in a while.

Dan:
Oh man, those directors’ subscriptions they’re the killers!

Peter:
Oh dude, there’s a killer. They’re absolutely killers. And just doing that exercise and going like, hey, like I haven’t used that software for like months, but I’m paying like twelve dollars a month for it. Like you can save hundreds if you know, which ends up being thousands of dollars. So we did that. Yeah. And we’ve just been kind of adjusting day to day, but it feels good. It’s a hard on for me because I feel like if there’s ever a time to do a rebrand and rebrand your business, it’s now it’s like the world’s in hibernation, like now’s the time to, like, focus. But if you were to go out and say that you just come across as a really sleazy sell, like a hard sell. Yeah. So it’s tricky how to deliver that. But at the same time, there’s been companies who I think have realised that, you know, we put stuff out on Linkedin, for example, some content and someone’s commented at it and we just, you know, chat it back and built up a better rapport. And then there’s a conversation that gets started. And, you know, next thing you know, we’re getting a brief and discussing budgets and putting proposals together. So we’re actually the business we’ve been in a while. Touch wood. I really hope that doesn’t go out. Feel really grateful that we are. But, yes, it’s certainly an interesting time for sure.

Dan:
Yeah, I think that’s right. Like, that’s something that we heard as well as that idea of oh people will use this time to look at their brand and refocus. And who was in the first few weeks? I was sort of thinking. Yeah, right. That’s beautiful to hear you say that. But I don’t know if it’s true. But it’s actually coming into fruition as it moves forward. So it is positive that those things are happening. That’s cool that that LinkedIn is somewhere that you’re able to pick up some work or build some rapport. Has that been a trend for you guys to get work through LinkedIn? I mean, I know as designers or in the design community, we often try to avoid things like LinkedIn and gear towards more things like Instagram or Behance. But what’s your sort of Social media of choice for building brand and for your your studio? Not for, um, for other brands.

Peter:
Yeah. You know, for us, Instagram is great for showing the work that we do and starting conversations, getting noticed as it’s Behance. We’re active on both and we don’t have a huge following in this sky at the moment purely because I look at it as it takes a lot of work and when we’re kind of working on. Stuff like that, you know, as a small team, to have somebody do that full time is kind of tricky. So we’re trying to automate stuff. There’s a lot of tools like laser dot coms. Fantastic. If I for this and wants to, you know, look at how to perfect the incident game later. Dot com is amazing. So things like that. So. But Ellington’s been been a really good place for us in a previous life, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it a little bit. I worked in recruitment. Believe it or not. So I kind of got in on LinkedIn in the early days because of that and managed to get, you know, a little bit of a following in there. But it’s, um, I feel like it’s had a bit of resurgence the last few months. You know, it’s really sad to pop at the moment. So I’m just being honest. I feel like, you know, people talk about there’s a thing like Marguerite’s into this thing and you see that what Marguerite’s and did the other day about all the brands sounding the same. It’s amazing.

Dan:
And I have to check it out. I do like his stuff. I think it’s pretty brilliant. It’s done it out on there. And I mean, it’s like marketing MBA course and I think it’s doing a branding MBA course. Yeah, it’s really, really smart stuff. And it’s a really clever it’s EFIC course. And there’s a few people I know who’ve gone through it. Got a lot out of it. But you know, what was his name.

Peter:
Yeah. And he’s great man. He did this kind of like amalgamation of brand videos, like adverts in the last couple of weeks. And it was like big brands like, you know, I don’t know name anybody, but like really big household name brands. But it was like and I think it was Todd or somebody like, covered wank. Yeah. Because he was saying, like, it’s all COGAT wank and it’s every brand saying the same thing, like we’re here for you. We’ll get this together, you know, we’re all that kind of stuff. And. And it’s interesting because, you know, I mean, like I think everybody’s got emails the last few weeks from businesses, you know,

Dan:
Oh my god, they are so bad! Some of them are so bad!

Peter:
Yeah I know! Like a flag flown on an airline once for some crazy time, months and years ago. And it’s like, you know, we’re here for you. We’ve been thinking about you. Here’s what we’re doing. And I it was a jump from that. Yeah. Matt, it’s Matt.

Peter:
So I think just being honest.

Dan:
So I got one from a toll company the other day, like you drive through the tunnels and it’s say, here’s what we’re doing for. I like mate. This did not mean to be an email.

Peter:
Yeah. I drive into, you know, tunnels anytime.

Dan:
Mate, you mentioned recruitment. Maybe take me back to how you got into design in the first place. And your story is going from recruitment to design is probably not a a career path that many designers I know would would have taken. So can you take me back there and explain that?

Peter:
Yeah, it was more designed into recruitment in back and designed to be honest and recruited for the design industry at the same time. But it’s still it’s still a bit of a weird laughs. I mean, gotta take you take you all the way back. I you know, I always liked art audit stall. I was I was a kid drawing the crowds and all that kind of stuff. And then I finished school and I did a graphic design course for I was born in England and I moved to South Africa when I was nine years old. So I lived in South Africa up until my early 20s. And I moved back to London for about ten years. And I’ve been in Australia, in Sydney for eight years now. So I have a weird accent, which is probably noise, people listening, which is a I can’t help, but it is what it is. But, um. So I finish school in South Africa, joined a college called Mediatheque and studied graphic design. And then I had my first job was at a company called International Concept Organisation in Durban, which used to work with like the Mister Price Group, which I guess is like retail fashion brand in South Africa. It’s kind of. I’d say it’s kind of South Africa’s equivalent to H. M. And so working on campaigns like that, they had a sister business, a sister agency called International Trend Institute.

Peter:
So was always looking at kind of trend trends coming up and working with people. Luckily, it’ll who is a Dutch trend forecaster who’s extremely well known. So that was kind of my, I guess, introduction into kind of, you know, advertising and design and the creative industry. I left ICRA and I see and I moved to London because my friends were going over there. My little brother moved over like obviously my family. They’re my grandparents and cousins and things like that. So I moved to London and then initially got a job for an experienced marketing agency called R.P.M., where I was essentially a team leader going out into the field and, you know, looking after teams that were giving out free Strongbow, Sadr and Lipton iced tea samples. And we do stuff at music festivals and train stations. And it was kind of just one of those like, you know, 21 years old. You’ve just left home for the first time. You come to explore yourself, haven’t find one of those things. And then a year or two like it wasn’t very long, really. I got approached by Quicksilver in South Africa. Coming going ahead, uncle from a gun and Greg Soire to I’d worked with when he was at Mr. Price and I was at ICAO and he’d moved over a quick sylvan’s had had as a kind of like art direct design kind of roll going like would you want to come and check it out? And kind of just piqued my interest.

Peter:
I, I grew up surfing as a kid. I competed, I was sponsored as a junior and stuff like that. So it really kind of interest me. So I flew over and had had a meeting with with Isilon Borrus, who was the licence holder at the time, and Barry Walloons, and got a job then worked there for about I think it’s about four or five years. So we did, you know, designing everything from, you know, magazine adverts and install point-of-sale stuff to creating. Like the cricks of a good wave and the hometown hero bus tour and some other stuff that we did, you know, producing all the catalogs that our agents would sell from doing shoots and all our athletes and talent and stuff like that, and essentially being the art director at Quicksilver. I then kind of move back to the U.K. and it was a weird wants me. I stumbled and I basically I moved out with my best friend and our girlfriends at the time and we found a flat in Wimbledon that was beautiful flat. And we paid the deposit and we all had a bit of money saved up so we didn’t need to get a job. And I had kind of met with a recruitment agency for major players in Covent Garden who I recruited the creative industry, and I’d had a couple of interviews and nothing really come to it.

Peter:
And then it was a week before we’re supposed to move into our apartment and Wimbledon. And the agent phoned me up. They said, I just know you need to come fill out these final forms. And like I said, we’d already paid the deposit. So the job details and a form I put N.A like not applicable. And then lady was like, what do you know? I was like, I don’t have a job yet. Like I just kind of moved over from South Africa and she has wah wah wah. She’s a you. There’s no landlord in London. It’s going to give you anybody like a year’s tenancy agreement without proof of income every month. So you just need to get a job in the next 48 hours where you gonna lose your deposit and everything. And I was just like, oh, my God. So I remember grabbing the Evening Standard newspaper on the tube on the way home, and there was a job saying, like junior recruiting consultant, no experience needed, like, start straightaway. I think the salary was like 16000 pounds a year. Which is like peanuts. You know, like I think like if you work at McDonald’s, you get more than that. There’s like like a, you know, like clean tables and stuff. So. So I just I applied and it was really funny because it was a it was a company called Selecter that recruited to like the big four managed consultancy firms like the Lloyds and P.W.C and Accenture and KPMG. And I remember rocking up and like a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. And I opened the door and like everybody was on the phone, like with like those, you know, those headset microphones that everyone was suited and booted. Yeah, everyone was in suits. And I walked in black jeans and a T-shirt, looked for a job interview and like, the whole place is like went silent, like you could hear a pin drop, like has it was like talking away like cold calls and like dealing with clients and candidates. And then it was just like I walked in and it’s like a lottery felt like Tom. Everyone just stared at me. I was like, oh my God, look, what have I done? I remember the guy like the managers. I was well, he came and grabbed me. We took into like a boardroom. He’s like, I see him. And she was like, Yeah, you guys, can you do me a favor? As I. Yeah, of course. And he goes, and you just leave here, go buy yourself a suit and come back first thing in the morning. I was like, yeah, of course. And I was like, I don’t know how to take a like I walked out and I was just like, what does happens? I like, look, you went downstairs and so that say it’s a river island.

Peter:
Yeah, exactly. I went to River Island, was like one up from Brahmaputra and I think I spent like £100 on the first suit ever. And I went back in the morning and like everyone just laughed at me and then give me a job. But it was I it was good training and it was but it was like an industry I didn’t really understand. And I lost it there a few months. And I phoned up my recruiter at major players. It’s like, dude, you need to get me a job as soon as possible. Like, I can’t do this anymore. Wearing a suit for the first time in my life, like, very much came from working at a surf brand like, you know, who would I go for a surf in the morning? Yeah. I’d like walk into my office in a wetsuit. Sometimes I get change on my desk, you know, now I’m out. I’m wearing suits and boots and all the way. And yeah, I spoke to my recruitment agent who’s gone and Tim Sternbergh, who’s become one of our really good friends. And he said, look, like there’s nothing there’s no relevant roles for you at the moment right now. But if you want to come and work for us and like doing recruitment, like, I’m happy to kind of give that a guy, like, we’ll give it a trial for a month or so.

Peter:
And I went in and six years later I left the business. It was one of those things where Jack Ratton is the guy who started that started major players. He was the founder. He just credit, like an amazing culture of people and everyone’s really good friends. There was very much and I remember my interview with Jack was like my third interview and he said, I’ll never forget. He said to me, hey, if you’re like if you’re hung over in the morning, don’t find Insec. He says, find your boss and say you’re hung over and come on like 11 o’clock and you can make it up like the next day or or later that week. And I just thought that was so refreshing, you know, like because in modern times I’d find it and pretended I was sick and had this voice or whatever. And, you know, as as a early 20 year olds, the U.S. audience. Yeah, exactly. And it was just it was also for, you know, having a and a young early career in the creative industry. Like I mean, I’m sure you’re you know as well as everybody else, like, you know, the hours we work sometimes in the credit industry are nuts. Like I was working through the night deadlines, like literally working or not, as till eight o’clock in the morning and going home for a few hours and coming back for the pitch or whatever it might be, and still getting, you know, your fixed salary at the end of the month.

Peter:
And all of a sudden you’re in a sales role like in the recruitment industry. And I was taught like, you know, there’s a phone, there’s a computer, there’s a warm list of leads. This is your targets for the month, you know, and for a creative and a designer. Like, I’d never been exposed that before. I didn’t know I don’t know how to code call like I sat in my headphones on in silence designing things of my career to that point, you know, so it was I it was like thrown in the deep end, but like, just. Team of ready help for people that helped get things over the line and kind of trained you up. And I’ll tell you what ended up happening is started, you know, being a consultant to businesses that were, you know, Berriman, our clients were creative agencies. So essentially getting jobs for the like, you know, the people that make the kind of jobs that I would go for myself as a designer sometimes. And it just gave me a whole new perspective on, like, you know, the harder you work, you can actually earn more money because obviously there’s a commission structure and, you know, the salary, the base salary was a great.

Peter:
But you can make three, four, five times your monthly salary if you had a really good month. So it kind of I guess it kind of like in hindsight, like not running a branding agency. It’s kind of allowed me to understand how to, like, build relationships with people on the phone, like in front of people in person and have a conversation and just try and generally add value and help people out by providing them with something that they need. And as a designer before something to recruitment, I would never have ever experienced that before. So, yeah, it was it was an interesting one. So from there, I kind of I met my now wife in London who was weirdly born in East Africa, moved to Sydney when she was ten years old. So we met and kind of moved in together pretty quickly. And then my grandfather passed away. He was my hero growing up. He was in England. And that was kind of the catalyst for me to to leave England. And I always wanted to kind of just get back to somewhere warm and by the ocean and be able to jump in and go for a surf and go to work and stuff like that. Was it’s hard to do that in London. So, you know, Pop’s passing away was kind of the catalyst for me to kind of realign, I guess, and recalibrate what I wanted to do.

Peter:
So with my life now, often I travelled around the States for about four or five months. That would be a road trip. And that’s always kind of. Yeah. Spent all our inheritance money, much to the dismay of like my brother and my uncle. And people are going like, we should invest this money. I’m like now going on a road trip. So we kind of did that and then settled back in Sydney and got a job through a friend of a friend who worked for a media agency. So it kind of went and there’s a I guess like a digital producer and progressed to kind of a director of innovation position, which is essentially was the ideas guy. You know, I’d be wheeled in for a pitch and we’d kind of collate a bunch of ideas that would hopefully get something over the line and we’d win the work. And the frustrating thing was often, you know, more often than not, clients wouldn’t actually go with those big ideas. So I became this kind of creative with a portfolio of work that had never seen the light of day. And it was just a big frustration point. So my wife was pregnant with our little boy, our second child, and I was like, right, I’m going to quit and start my own thing and started electric and unlocked four years ago. And we are.

Dan:
Wow. That’s great journey. How do you think the you talked about being to solve your working, and build quick rapport and relationships. How else do you think your background in recruitment and sales has helped you as an agency leader?

Peter:
You know, it’s simple. Like you ask people if they’re into sales, a lot of people go on it, really. And there’s a few people have been kind of gaining so much value from recently play ends. Yeah. And you’re not talking about him. The other down email. We were.

Yeah, he’s brilliant. We did, I did, a course, down in Sydney with him and um.

Peter:
Yeah. Awesome!

Dan:
Yeah, that is brilliant.

Peter:
Yeah epic!

Dan:
His work is really good.

Peter:
So him and there’s another him. Eric Gersen as well. He’s amazing. Yeah. Through we’ve listened to his stuff to The Futur with Chris Do we learned is. Yeah I’m sure. Yeah. Yeah. So. So Chris is doing with The Futur. I mean I think those guys are just providing so much that it’s incredible,

Dan:
Oh Completely.

Peter:
If you are a creative. Yeah. If you’re a creative and would be living under a rock, you don’t know what the future is at the end of it. You can Google it because it would literally change your life. But, um, yeah, I think like, you know, some of the old guys and setters, like everyone’s selling, like you’re always selling and when you think about that like you are. And I think as creators, we don’t really have that. At the front of our mind, and I think the minute we do understand that, I think it changes everything. You know, like I’ve worked with, you know, slightly more junior creditors in my time where, you know, they just go. I don’t really understand the business side of things. And I don’t know if I need to. I’m a designer and it’s like you do. Like, if you understand that, like, you become a lot more empathetic as a as a designer. And I think it opens up your work to a whole new kind of realm of thinking that you wouldn’t have thought about if you didn’t understand the fundamentals of sales and what people need and how you can provide value. So I think it’s really, really important to understand sales and be a salesman as much as it is to be a designer.

Dan:
Yeah, completely. And I think, like, it’s hard, as student, you know, you said, you need designers and they might do beautiful work with a terrible and explain or showcase. No, I’m selling it and have you know, we understand like I might feel uncomfortable to sort of like feel like your selling the concept, but at the same time, sometimes it just needs explaining terms. Yeah, for sure.

Peter:
And I think that’s experience as well. You know, like I mean, love him or hate him. I’m a huge Gary Vaynerchuk fan as he is. I love us. And, you know, he said some of the other days, like, you know, you don’t know how to drive at one point, you know, but you figured it out. I think, you know, there’s those things when people get like and I don’t know how to do that. And it’s like you figure it out like, you know, you can Google staff, you can ask people, you can go on YouTube. There’s so much free content, like you can pretty much learn how to do anything with the technology that we’re gifted with in this day and age. So I don’t think that should ever be an excuse.

Dan:
Yeah, completely. There’s always a video of a 12 year old kid explaining something on YouTube that’s got two hundred thousand two hundred thousand views. How to reform hard drive or something like that. Yeah, out of a sense. But talking about your industry. Oh, I guess our industry for a second. What are some things or challenges that you think we face and what are some frustrations?

Peter:
Look, I think all industries have challenges. I think the creative industry is has always been rife with them. You know, whether that’s, you know, challenging a client on on having an in-house agency, I don’t know. You know, I can understand how that takes costs down, but I don’t understand how they can get access to the most creative minds unless you’re paying them an absolute fortune, which I can’t see it being cost effective. I think I get frustrated with full service agencies. I really feel like I can. I feel like I can see how they’ve got there. But I feel like it’s like an Olympic athlete doing like all sports. It just doesn’t like it. You know, imagine, like you say, Balts, like, you know, doing high jump, like he’d actually for you if I got a high jump, to be honest. But, you know, doing something that’s not his remit. You know, that is bad analogy.

Peter:
No, no, I completely agree. We’re having this conversation the other day completely. I shared he exact same sentiments on this. Yeah. I think you just have a team who are, like, really geared to one thing and then they do a few other things quite okay.

Peter:
Yeah. Yeah, 100 percent. But then I also understand from the client’s perspective is like, you know, it would be really probably painful if it’s not managed properly to have eight different agencies or four different agencies that are specialist niche boutique businesses that are really good at what they do trying to work. And I’ve been on the receiving end of that as well. Like, I’ve worked in agencies where we’ve, you know, we’ve had to partner with other agencies which are essentially competitors. And it’s just sometimes it gets a bit shitty. You know, there’s some egos involved in this. And personality is a clash. And I think they should be, you know, something should fall into their remit, not the other agency. So I can understand it. I just think there needs to be a solution to that. And I think for me, it’s one of those conversations just goes round in circles year after year. But I think there’s a solution. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure we’ll find it eventually. I think how we charge is as a frustration and a challenge as well. You know, we initially did kind of the Tom race, you know, a pricing model like I think most young agencies or creatives do. And it didn’t work for us. You know, like we you kind of include two rounds of changes and revisions and a brief and then and that’s how you Coston and, you know, estimate that this is gonna take us call it 100 hours. But then the client changed their mind or their three decision makers at the client. And you have an established three to one decision makers and made that very clear in the early days. So you don’t understand that. So you’ve got three people that will have an opinion on you not doing six round of changes. So you’ve estimated a job to take you 100 hours. It takes you 196 hours and you’re out of pocket.

Peter:
And then if you give the client another invoice, that’s, you know, almost double the initial cost estimate. There’s a huge disconnect there. So, you know, value based pricing is obviously getting a lot of heat at the moment. I think some people who don’t understand exactly how it works. Think it’s not right. But I mean, the underlying concept is, you know, if I can do something for you that can provide X amount of value, then, you know, a small percentage of whatever that could be should be worth being paid to the person who provides that value. You know, the trick and I guess the disconnect there is, you know, if you’re going create a brand for a small little coffee shop that makes them sell another hundred coffees a day, or you go and rebrand Netflix, which, you know, gets them millions of more subscribers every month, you know, you’re almost doing the same thing for both businesses, but. You know, if you follow the value based pricing method, you’re charging a bigger company a lot more money than a smaller company, but you’re essentially doing the same thing. So I think that, you know, there’s a lot of experimentation going on with that at the moment. And I think I think it’s the feature of how we need to work in the industry. We’ve made a decision to stay away from pitches as well. Yeah. You know, I’ve worked in businesses where we’ve just gone pitch after pitch after pitch. And it’s it’s just soul destroying. You know.

Dan:
Completely you’re doing this thing at arm’s length. You have no idea. And it’s like Dad made up Brayshaw. Yeah. It’s it’s just a situation fraught with so much danger and disappointment.

Peter:
Yeah 100 percent. And it’s soul destroying. I mean, I’ve worked on teams where, you know, we haven’t gone to sleep in like three days to, you know, really deliver on a pitch. And it’s like months and months of work. And the agency spent so much money on creating making things and setting up things and, you know, doing this theater and stuff like The Old Mad Men, the days and that, and then it doesn’t come off and you just wasted 200 grand and, you know, three or four months of people’s time for nothing to show for it. I read something pretty interesting was a Blairites thing where he was saying, like, you know, if you go to a mechanic or dentist, you don’t, like get three dentists to, like, pitch to you and tell you who’s going to make your teeth the best. You know, like you go, I like the rapport, like your view of them, like what their brand stands for, like you guys, because your your best friends that I went to this mechanic and he was I got to fix my car. So it’s word of mouth referrals. And I think that’s how we need to operate. I think, you know, I know I know that we people listen to listen, go like that’s so wrong because it’s such an industry around the poll pitch process. And I think there’s I think there are probably times where it’s worth doing. But I think in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a broken model that I just don’t believe in.

Dan:
Completely agree. I think it’s. Yeah. No other industry, I think would work in a similar way where you give away so much work, IP, you know, creative Ethernet, and it could just end up on the cutting room floor. I think it’s also like it’s a situation that’s unfair because there’s that complete imbalance of informational power in the sense that I’ve been in situations where the client was never going to go like they were never gonna go, where were the incumbent and where they were never going to go with the incumbent, like it was just a formality. And I would have Indiana, who I just said, look at, like, to be honest, just dial, you know, find this and don’t bother putting it and the effort into it. This is at my previous job. And yeah, I’d rather them just be honest and go look.

Dan:
To be honest, we’ve got someone new on board who has a friend who runs a creative agency. They’re mates. They’ve always want to work together like this is going to happen sort of thing. I don’t it doesn’t matter what your work is going to be like, it’s not going to happen. I’d rather the honesty and not have the pain and suffering.

Peter:
Well, that’s said. And I think, you know, I don’t feel like I have an opinion on things. We have a point of view, should I say. And that’s never I never say things to be arrogant or be contriving. So that’s just what I believe in. But, you know, that means, you know who did it really well. Have you heard of SNASK? An agency out of Sweden?

Dan:
Yeah.Yeah, we saw them at The Design Conference last year.

Peter:
Yes. Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan:
They were great.

Peter:
I like to say, I mean, their whole thing’s amazing. I like that, you know, their box called Make Enemies and gain fans. And it’s their whole perspective is like if you stand for something you believe in, there will be people that really backward believing you. They become your fans. And of course, if people that think you’re an idiot and completely disagree with what you’re saying, but that’s kind of where you want to be. You want to be in the middle where you’re trying to please everybody because you’re just beige and you’re not really you don’t really mean anything to anybody. You’re just you’re not really spoken about or noticed or no one really gives a shit, you know what I mean? So I think it’s important to have a point of view and stand behind it. And I think in the pitch process, it’s pretty you know, it’s pretty evident to see that, like, you kind of only want to be working with good human beings that are aligned with you, you know, and, um, you know, as an agency, you go through a patch and you’ve got like particular more junior creditors that aren’t so thick skinned and haven’t been through that before that I just you can see that broken like I mean, I’ve worked with guys that had to go and see psychologists because they were just like so physically and mentally exhausted after, like, years and years of working on pitches that it just broke their personality completely. And that’s not a good thing. Like, we shouldn’t be encouraging that as an industry at all.

Dan:
Yeah. I think I mean, Blair ends has a great book, Win Without Pitching, but I think sort of kickstarted his career. And that’s such a valuable read for anyone who believes in sort of what we’re saying here, I think would be a good reference.

Peter:
For sure.

Dan:
You spoke of Pause Fest earlier this year, is that right?

Peter:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dan:
And to pull something you said there, I want you to tell a story about how you booked a meeting with a guy by sending him something that was quite creative. I’d like you to tell that story because I that was of brilliant in terms of how to book a meeting with someone who’s extremely type or and a key decision making role. So I can take you back and tell me what was that about and why he did that.

Peter:
Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, I mean, like back to the mental thing, like, I don’t know, I’ve been bought up. You know, my grandfather my dad died when I was 11 years old. My grandfather, my mom’s side was kind of like my father figure growing up amongst other people, like my best friend’s dad and buses and things like that. And my granddad was kind of the ultimate. And he always just taught me to respect your elders and you can learn from people. So I guess I’ve always had this kind of view that like, you know. You find something really tricky and hard to do. There’s somebody out there who’s done it before and got to experience and, you know, you could probably have a coffee with them or a lunch and learn more about how to fix the problem you’re facing than if you were to go and do a 12 month course at a college or something like that. That’s my view thing. So, you know, and it’s weird because growing up and while growing up in my 20s in London and working at major players like one of our clients was naked communications. And, you know, they back in the day where they were like the rock’s the ultimate rock star creative agency. They went against the grain. They were just cool as fuck. Like, really good stuff, really good work, really good clients, amazing people that are running it. And one of the people who used to run Nakatomi has a gun. And Mike Wilson, who is currently I think he’s just been promoted to the chairman and have US Australia.

Peter:
And so we wanted to pick his brain and we wanted to kind of like, you know, just get his advice as someone who’d run an agency like Nakhon back in the day, like, you know, how do you run a credit agency? Like, what are the cool things that you can do? And like, how do you get attention of bigger brands and all those kind of questions? So we started like trying to get attention, like Adam Allington, nothing like sediment email to the website, nothing. And, you know, obviously like it. The guy’s really, really busy. Super senior is running a, you know, tens of one hundred people business. So we decided to get creative and figure out how to get his attention. And essentially, because we I mean, we we create brands and it’s all about getting people’s attention. So you kind of have to take some of that learning that you’ve done in creating brands over the years and apply it to the day to day stuff. So what we did was we first just went on LinkedIn and kind of try to find some mutual connections. And I found I was a Ghanam Seamus Higgins that I’d gone to school, who I think is a ECD at RGA at the moment, is such a good dude. And I had spoken to him in years and ironically he was. And we grew up together in East Africa, went to school and we went to the same design school together as well after high school.

Peter:
He now lives in Sydney and he was working at host from Mike’s side. Just set him up. And as I like really would love to pick Mike’s brain. I’ve taken for lunch or dinner or a drink or something just to get some advice and shows like, hey, you’ve got to go through his P.A. and she’s the gatekeeper. She runs everything. So we hit her up and she said, look, Mike’s really busy and like, you know, like maybe like in a few months time, there might be an opportunity right now. Is Canada’s kind of plot. So we’ve got to find a little bit kind of disheartened. And then we thought, okay, look, let’s think outside the box here. So we phoned her back in and a couple of days and we said, like, hey, like, what does he love? Like, we just want to send him something to get the attention. He’s like, Art, is it? He loves Chelsea Football Club and he loves like there was this whisky that he loved and we were like, oh my God. Like, we can’t fly in to Charles to Stamford Bridge to watch his favorite team, Glasgow, and we can’t afford that. The whisky was like two grand a bottle. We’re like, ah. So. So he said, what does he hate? It shows he hates tomatoes. And we’re like, what he minutes you know, you just fucking hates tomatoes. Like he doesn’t stand a side of them.

Peter:
So we’re like perfect. Like we can afford the tomatoes. So we went downstairs to the coffee shop and were in our office. And when I coworking space and we just said, I like can we buy like few hundred tomatoes? And the guy was like, because I was George is like with you because you pour coffee every day, you know. And he was like, what do you like hundreds of us we Tom. So he’s like are amazing love. So he gave us I think it was like eight boxes of tomatoes or nine box tomatoes. And I think there was 782 tomatoes in total. And we literally just got in Aruba with these boxes of tomatoes and we rocked up and have us officers and we went up the left and we sort of a delivery for Mark Wilson. And we got and he wasn’t there annoyingly me. So we just left like 782 box tomatoes at his desk and we left and we just thought this would be record and we’d organised for us harvest to come at like 6:00 p.m. and collect them so they could be used and stuff and weren’t put to waste. But the very next morning, we got a email from his P.A. going. My thought that was the funniest thing. How you guys fixed for like a lunch on Friday afternoon to meet up with them. So, yeah, it definitely worked. And I think just getting, you know, thinking definitely to get people’s attention can have real benefits sometimes.

Dan:
That’s brilliant. And how has the launch?

Peter:
Yeah, it’s man I like. You know, people have, like I said, people who’ve done that, done things you’re were trying to do, just open up like a whole new realm of thinking, you know, like it makes you change your perspective and and honestly, like we’ve done similar things. I did that with at Pixar. He founded. I mean, so Ed Catmull is founded Pixar. He was at Web summit a few years ago. We had a 3D photo out, Kouji Pop that we were my brother I’d done as a business. So we were there and we just wanted to meet Ed Capital and we had a very similar thing with him. We tweeted and the person who’d written his book picked up the tweet and we kind of sweet talked her into giving us his email address and he was emailed us back and said, I’m too busy, I gotta go to the airport. So we just locked up the airport. And what kind of message? Em real time. And we on the way there, we end up like picking at capitals brain for like twenty minutes before he boarded a flight in Dublin back to San Francisco. And, you know, just like those little nuggets of wisdom where you can ask questions and you’ve got to be prepared, like he kind of rock up and, you know, ask him how the family is got to go, like, hey, these are the three things I’m really battling with, like, can you help me do this, this and this? And then they go, you know, they’re pretty rushed as well. And, you know, people enjoy. Helping people are fine for the most part. So, yeah, it’s good. I mean, the lunch with Mark was great.

Peter:
He gave us some really good insight and just about being brave. You know, they had probably won’t do the story justice, but they had an opportunity to pitch for I think it was Coca-Cola back in the early days of naked. And they got asked to fill out like a 200 page RFP. And they would just say, we don’t know how to do this. Like, this is crazy. So what he told us they did is they had this beautiful cover page made of this book of like 200 pages, and then they had a corner. They’re going to illustrate it to get a like a pencil illustration of, you know, and you flicked like the corner of a block and it made a flexible animation. Yeah. Yeah. And he did that with, like, a little do like running, running, running, running. And we got to the end of the flick. They get like a vending machine and he put some money in and a can of coke came out. And then there’s the end Page said, we’re going to do more of this for you. And they submitted it. And he said within a few days they got a call and he was they were actually at the pub and he just said, oh, shit. Here we go. Get let down lightly. And the client of Coke was like, this is the bravest thing we’ve ever received. Okay, guys have won the works. You know, that’s how they won a big climate, Coca-Cola. So, you know, just hearing stories like that from someone who’s done it. It really changes everything for you. You know, it’s like there’s a whole new perspective on how to approach business I feel.

Dan:
So cool. I love those stories. I love the stories of people just daring to take a risk or think outside the box and seeing a payoff. I mean, I’m sure there’s probably a few stories down the track of people who have served as bombed miserably in those things. But there, you know.

Peter:
They are those successful ones. Yeah.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s cool. So back to electric and analog. What sort of stuff do you guys know? Your focus is brand in design and content, but what sort of industry or client is something that you guys really love to, I guess, sink your teeth into or get cracking and working on?

Peter:
Yeah. I mean, we were yeah. We’re a brand continent design studio and we haven’t, you know, um, actually we’ve been there’s been so much talk about niching at the moment and we really are kind of trying to figure that out. I think it’s something that has immense value because you end up becoming kind of, you know, a minority of people that can service a particular niche quite well.

Peter:
I mean, as things stand, we you know, I guess our elevator pitches, we transform brands to drive sales and make people and companies better. So we do everything from brand strategy in creating brands through to designing things like packaging and products and websites. And we create videos and different shapes and all that kind of stuff. Our typical client at the moment is kind of the the ambitious owner who runs a Challenger brand. So I don’t think I don’t think we’ll be able to add value to the Nike’s and the Apples and the Googles and those kind of companies. But the companies we’re going after are, you know, potentially first six, seven or eight on the run brands in their industry that, you know, the brand probably needs a bit of love and needs some creative kind of injection into what they do typically around the seven to eight figure turnover business, which we kind of are working with some startups in the early days. But it’s just hard because they don’t have money. And as far as we’ve progressed as a business and really refined our craft, I feel like what we do adds tremendous value and that obviously has a price tag on it. So, you know, for Auntie Sheila, who runs, you know, makes candles in our garage to charge a lot of money to make a brand, it’s just not the right thing to do.

Peter:
But we’ve also I think there’s also value and kind of referring people, you know, like we would have, you know, back in the day, we would have said yes to everything. Like I said earlier, we’ve learned to say no now to things as well. But it’s also I think you can provide value to people like, you know, if someone goes and I’m making up numbers, if we charge 50 grand. Like I said, we’ll make it known as we charge 50 grand to make a brand. And someone says, I got five grand, like, okay, we’re not going to take that brief on. But, you know, we would probably know somebody who might be an established freelancer or really good student who would be able to add value and make an introduction that way. So I think as long as you can provide value, that’s still that’s still the right thing to do. I think I’ve went off topic a little bit, but that’s that’s kind of a central electric monologue as a whole.

Dan:
Yeah, cool. And in terms of the working environment, something I noticed that you talked about pause first was this concept of a 90 minute focus prints and something that, you know, you’ve talked about in the past about been really sort of interested in productivity. Take me through that. I’d love to know how that works.

Peter:
Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s a constant work in progress, in all honesty. And, you know, continually kind of experimenting with things is always kind of some YouTube where it comes out with a new hack. And more often than not, it’s it’s attached to a product that you’ve got to pay 10 bucks a month for. So those ones. But, you know, for me, I felt like for a long time I was doing like working stupid hours, like and I think anyone who runs a business working nine to five is not a way to succeed in running your own company. But, you know, I got to the point where I felt like I was working such silly hours and I didn’t really have much to show for it. So I just started kind of I mean, look, the catalyst for me was I had after what we spoke on earlier, you know, the last twelve months, we had towards kind of September time last year, I experienced full burnout. I was just burning the candle at both ends. I was I was not sleeping properly and I was sleeping. It wasn’t very good sleep I was in. Hindsight, I was go to the pub with the boys after work and having a drink and thinking that would like drama sorrows and make it all good. My dad was an alcoholic who committed suicide when I was eleven. And back then, I think, you know, there was no Google and there was no kind of awareness around mental health.

Peter:
So I don’t. I was thinking the back of my mind, I don’t know if anything I get is is genetic or runs in the family. I certainly hope not. But I’ve certainly become more conscious of the last few years. And, you know, growing up as a kid, I was always I never really had a good relation with alcohol. I always get super emotional again to fight the people and just be a dick. So it took me a long time, like probably a bit too late on a life to realize, like alcohol and me and not very good friends. So and I’ve done it before, like a few years ago. I kind of cut alcohol off two years and then realized it was very anti-social. So I started like having a drink every now and again just to be sociable. But, you know, having burn out and coming out to the other side of that, it’s just kind of made me really evaluate what we’re doing. And and I think, like I said in the talk, like I always read books and like heard people talking about finding your purpose. And I never really understood what it meant. Like, I was I kind of got it. But I was like I didn’t know really what my purpose was. So, you know, going through that, I guess that journey of experiencing burnout, you know, you can call it a whatever you want to break down or like, you know, whenever you want to call it, like it’s it makes you kind of really, really evaluate things.

Peter:
So I started thinking about, like, you know, how how can I find my purpose? What is my purpose? And I started doing stuff like journaling because I’m actually went to go see a GP and a GP, prescribe me some happy pills. And I walked out of there going, I don’t want to be reliant on medication to put a smile on my face. So I didn’t do that. And I know some people will disagree with that, and that’s cool. But I kind of went home and I just started researching, like coping mechanisms of how to deal with burnout. And, you know, I like to give some perspective. Like I we have a failure on the two year on my wife’s a full time mom, which is the, you know, the hardest job in the world. But we’re essentially a single income family. So I feel like a bit of pressure. I think back then, you know, being in a shitty headspace with kind of a divorce from a business partner, that kind of stuff, it all just added up. And I just wasn’t a good spacer I sort of journaling. And then I started putting being a visual person, putting that into a bit of a keynote presentation. And then I Senator, a couple of friends are like, you know, pretty established creators and keynote speakers and said, hey, what do you think? There’s just some really positive feedback around it.

Peter:
So I started to kind of speak a profile and sense of that’s a few conferences and, you know, got a couple of responses and then. Yeah. George at Paul’s Fest was like, hey, we’ve got a gap on the stage that we love to have you on here. So I did my first keynote back in Fab and was absolutely shitting my pants in the weeks and days leading up to it, but got on stage and just pretended there’s was nobody there and just spoken and kind of obviously had designed the presentation but just kind of rambled a little bit. And it kind of like, yeah, for me like finding your purpose is everything and going through I think the burn out I guess that you go through it’s kind of stop and you just start thinking like, how why am I feeling like this? And so for me, I started journaling a bunch of things and I went back to like, surprise, surprise my dad dying when I was super young. And it just made me think, like, you know, what happened there. You know, when we were young, like I grew up eating, that we were my dad was really wealthy. He was a he had a successful business that import and export of stainless steel.

Peter:
We had Jaguar’s Mercedes and holiday houses in Spain and the Cotswolds and speedboats and all that kind of stuff. And when he died, he was declared bankrupt, which to this day, nobody in my family can understand. But it may be to start questioning, like doing what I do. How can I add value and prevent that from happening? Because you know what my little brother and I have gone through because of that? Like, it’s not a nice thing to go through as a kid, you know, like you’re the only kid who’s, you know, doesn’t have a dad and you have all these daddy issues growing up. And it does affect you as a human being. So it kind of made me think about, like, you know, we create brands. There’s people out there that run businesses that are under pressure that don’t have the know how or the experience of building a brand that resonates on an emotional level. So that became like my purpose. I how can doing what we do like creating brands and design, like, you know, getting the creative voices as a company in a brand and a really good place that, you know, allows you as a business owner to wake up in the morning, feel excited to get to work, have, you know, legion of fans and, you know, a diehard fan base of people that really want to buy your products. And, you know, if we can provide that and prevent somebody else from doing what my own dad, because of the pressure of running a business, and that’s a huge, huge win for me, you know.

Peter:
And so I bucketed and the two purpose is not I’m now down on my own, my little girl, Francie’s for my son next to, you know, and the thought of them growing up without a dad because something happens to me is another thing. So it made me kind of like re-evaluate the whole way I operate on a Day-To-Day basis and I went super, super micro and to like almost every hour, like what I spend. And, you know, growing up as a creative agencies, you’re always told to flat timesheets. And I think any designer will tell you timesheets are the most boring things. There is a creative person. Yeah. And I never I fought it as a as a junior creative. Like I remember traffic managers coming up, like we had this woman named Test, such as a greater target, like I don’t need them. I hate them not doing it. And I just so I was like the worst person to manage ever, but. And it’s sort of making me think like a right lack of actually got a track with time. So I kind of like re invented my day, so to speak. So I’ve cut alcohol out completely. I haven’t had a drink since September. I wake up at four thirty a.m.

Peter:
every morning. I try to get some exercise done, like I would normally go for a surf. But I’ve just been super busy recently so probably not be surfing as much as I should have. But I’ll do like a 20 minute session, like a high intensity and general training session. There’s a guy named Joe Wex in England, the body coach. Check him out, man. He’s a he’s amazing. Like he does his YouTube channel. He’s got all this free content. It’s like fifteen minute intervals sessions where, you know, like 30 seconds of Birch’s or press ups or sit ups as much as you can and 30 second break and then you do it again and you do. And fifteen minutes in the grand scheme of things is not a lot of time. But you know, if you can do that, the next thing to do after that is, was having a shower and then have a cold shower at the end and then Imhoff stuff, you know, the Ice Man stuff. It’s amazing. Like, it’s really uncomfortable. It’s really hard. And then after you’ve done it, you just feel like this amazing sense of accomplishment that you’ve achieved something. And I was reading really is actually like it increases white blood cell circulation. It’s actually fends off like things are colds and all that kind of stuff. So the cold shower thing, after doing a bit of intensive exercise, may be really helpful, but that’s over.

Dan:
Donald Trump will start spruiking it as a cure for Covid.

Peter:
Oh dude, don’t get me started on that guy.

Dan:
Like I was doing after reading that as well. But I live in an apartment building. Our shower doesn’t actually get that cold. So I was doing like this last week. It wasn’t actually that hard. Like I started doing. And I like I think I need to be somewhere where, like, the water actually is cold, but.

Peter:
Exactly. You know it’s funny because like a lot of like like I could talk about surfing cause I’m just a fan of the sport, but like a lot of the top prize, like doing ice pass at the moment and that kind of thing, like a lot of a lot of elite athletes do that. But I guess the cold shower is, you know, the non athlete’s version of having an ice bath because there’s something in it, you know. And then, yeah, like I’m generally I’m sitting at my desk. I like kind of six, six thirty with a coffee in my hand, get him a day started. And. And I found initially, like, you know, I write it to do list, you know, with my stuff to do for the day and how that used to be with there’d be 19 things on my to do list. And it just became absolutely overwhelming. Like, I just sit there like, oh, I got to prioritize what to do. And I say I recently discovered a program called Notion, which is yeah, it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s awesome.

Dan:
Our guys just had a tutorial last night from a friend on Notion.

Peter:
No way?

Dan:
Yeah. Yeah.

Peter:
It’s man it’s so customizable. There’s so many things you can use it for. But I used to keep notes of like meetings and stuff, but I also use it for my to do list every day. So what I do is I create like on a Sunday that I create like the 20 things that have to be done that week. And then I’ll go and talk them out on like a like a countdown and project board, like, you know, which it would normally be like haven’t started about to start on working on complete or whatever that might be on it. Need help. But I’ve done that as a weekly basis. So I try and keep it to three things a day and I do a 90 minute focus sprints where I lock the doors, the studio, I turn off notifications, my phone, I put headphones on just so no one interrupts me because that’s the headphones are the universal sign for Please Fuck Off Bazian. That would have interrupted and then I just do a 90 minute focused sprint with a timer on your phone. You can get so much more work done. And then after that 90 minutes sprint, you know, going for a quick walk or, you know, going up or making a cup of tea or a coffee or getting a snack or whatever might be, you know, obviously we’re working from home. So I get to go see the kids for ten, fifteen minutes and make it up to my wife and then come back and do it again.

Dan:
And I love that. I love that idea of breaking it up and only having three things, three things to tackle. I think that’s really cool.

Peter:
Well, that’s the thing, man. And what happens is you do a 90 minute sprint, you kind of force yourself to get it done with a view of, like, I can’t go to bed tonight. It’s all these three things are done. I look, sometimes it’s one thing, you know, because you know that that thing you’re never gonna be able to get to three of them done in a day. But if you can just stick to that plan, you did the beginning, the week. You kind of know, you know, every day we have to do. And then and then you could give him more macro on that. So there was I listen to a podcast the other day with a guy who was sort of like color coding his calendar. And it’s this is amazing. Like, I didn’t like it. And if you I hope you find this as fast as I did, because this is a game changer. So his whole thing is like there’s there’s like you can break your calendar. So I live in my Google Canada and everything and they’re like, yeah, to the minute. Like what I’ve started to like with the 90 minute spreads is like, alright, at seven a.m. on Wednesday I’m starting this 90 minute sprint to eight thirty, so I’ve got to get that done then.

Peter:
It’s like seven forty five are going to do the next thing. And I bet what this guy’s a communist name, it’s really annoying. But what his thing was you color coded. So I’ve kind of taken it as like a kind of a man and a little bit. But it’s like essentially there’s five things, different colors in your calendar. So no one is today’s revenue. That’s anything we get paid to do, so that’s sales delivery, client servicing, the day to day marketing the business. I like the view is that actually 70 to 80 percent of your day and your week, the next thing down the strategic elements to future proof your business. So things like partnerships and pitches and doing a credit deck and some training or like, you know, working on the business, not in the business. That needs to be around the 20 percent mark. And then there’s a bunch of like that I Calcutta’s blue and then Calcutta’s red is business support task, which should be zero to 10 percent, most of which should be outsourced. So that stuff like office management and I.T. and legal and accounting and finance and compliance and all that kind of boring stuff, that you can just get someone else to do it, like an accountant or a bookkeeper or a spouse or internal, whatever that might be.

Peter:
And then yellow I use for travel if I’m going to talk at a conference or whatever that might be, or going away to see something. And then there’s obviously some personal stuff in there which I use as kind of a dark gray. So what’s the logic as you can kind of have a holistic view of your calendar, like, you know, the week before and go like there’s not enough green in there. I need to do more green stuff. That’s today’s revenue. That means, you know, doing more sales calls or you speaking to clients more or getting on the phone. And it’s just a really interesting way to kind of divide your time, because, you know, I was going through, you know, a few months ago, a couple of years ago, like I was going through towns where I was just I was just busy, busy, you know, everyone gets busy, busy on doing the stuff that just doesn’t give you a return. And it really is the 80-20 rule. You know, like if you can refine the bit of the bit, a little bit of all that stuff, you do that and go deep on that. You know, you get such a bigger benefit out of it. At the other end in terms of getting stuff done.

Dan:
But he was brilliant after. Find that link and try to create a bunch of stuff. Try to create something that works here for us. But no, I really like that on podcasts and books.

Dan:
What are some of the things that you love listening to or insights? Some of the books that you love reading?

Peter:
Yeah, for sure. Podcasts. I have got massive value out of Crystal in the future. I think with those guys doesn’t sane and hasn’t. Massive, massive, massive respect what they’re doing. I listen to you know, this guy’s out of the U.K. called Creative Rebels. And have you heard of those guys are really cool. Look at them. They’re actually they run their business, but they’re essentially like graffiti artists. And they started this podcast, Creative Rebels, which is really awesome. I love Lewis. He’s got the skill of greatness, which is epic. Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m a fan of this one called The Business of Hype by Jeff Stateful in New York, which I think is run by a harpist. Yeah, this Heijne. And there’s some good podcast. How I built this by Guy Raz is amazing that Jake and Jonathan show by Jonathan, Courtney and Jake now. Our big design sprint advocates that run an ad agency in Berlin called Ajayan Smart. I love the entrepreneurs by monarchal. There’s quite a few amount I my podcasts out is over.

Dan:
Well, you’d have to send a screenshot and were added to the notes.

Peter:
I will. I will. And then on the books, I feel like there’s a few books that have changed my life, like Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity. His autobiography was one of the first books I read as a 16 year old, and it really changed the way I kind of view things. There’s a book by John Kiho Coal Mine Power, which has written, I think, in the 80s or 90s. But it’s all about like, you know, techniques to like visualizations and affirmations and all that kind of stuff to enhance your mind. And essentially has his whole thing is he says consciousness creates reality and you create consciousness, a consciousness being what you’re actively thinking about and rehearsing in your head, you know. His view is that those things can create actual atoms. There’s thoughts that create real life things to happen in real life. So I’m a huge fan of that. And then just autobiography stuff like Yvon Chouinard Let My People Go Surfing The Guys on Patagonia Creativity. And by Ed Catmull. We did something on on LinkedIn and Instagram a few weeks ago called 20 Books to Read in 2020. So I’ll send you that because it’s got ours and it’s got some amazing books in there.

Dan:
Yeah, great. And mate, to wrap this up. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time. It’s been awesome. But we ask a few questions as a wrap up. So firstly, who someone remarkable that we should speak to that you know.

Peter:
Yeah, I think you should talk to a very good friend of mine and Craig Parsons. He lives in Cape Town and South Africa. It’s funny, we grew up surfing together.

Dan:
He runs Parsons the branding agency?

Peter:
Parson Branding. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dan:
He was meant to come out, he’s meant to come out to The Design Conference.

Peter:
Yeah, he’s booked. And I think that might be chatting to Maddie the other day. I think that might be done remotely or virtually or somehow. I’m not sure exactly. But yeah, he was not to speak. But I mean, I’ve known Craig since we were like eleven, twelve years old, like we were serving together in the same teams and. Yeah, like, I mean I haven’t. It’s hard. I think we’re both living parallel lives. Who both ran creative business says we’re both ran against his, we both have two young kids married and all that kind of stuff. But just watching him from afar and that kind of work that they’re producing as a as a brand issue at the moment is incredible and amazing. Definitely worth having a chat with. Yeah. He’s a good human being, so I’ll be happy to make it and try.

Dan:
Yeah, definitely. Thank you. But what’s your favourite quote or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

Peter:
Easy. So one of my best friends are gonna call Eddie, a credit director at the mill in London. He works at ICAO International Concept Organisation. The agency I worked at my first job out of school, so and my best friend and my best friend, all about Anne and Carl and I kind of best friends. I’ve grown up with Carl since we were kids, you see on holidays to the drug Kingsburg and stuff like that. But he can’t just stay with us. He was speaking at Semipermanent a few years ago and he came to stay with us. And I remember him saying, like I said to while Malac, aren’t you worried about getting up and speaking in front of thousands of people? And he looked to me without blinking and he just looked at me. He said, I live my life by this rule. And he says, stupid people have done more with less. And it’s just something that’s like I think it’s like the best thing I’ve ever heard. Like, it’s. It’s so true. And if you’re ever faced with a with a situation where you start doubting yourself, like, I always just kind of repeat that back to myself and it makes it feel achievable.

Dan:
Well, that’s great. And finally, to wrap it all up. Where can people learn more about you? Where should we direct them?

Peter:
Yeah. Thanks for asking. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. Peter Brennan, our website is www.eanda.cc. So yeah, we’re kind of up in Instagram game for the agency at the moment as well. If you want to see how cute my kids are on how beautiful my wife is and how awesome a bulldog puppy is and how personal Instagram is. Mr. Peter Brennan. So follow me on that. But yeah, I mean, I’m pretty responsive on both of our Instagram platforms and LinkedIn.

Dan:
Awesome. Well Pete, thanks so much for taking the time today. I’ve really enjoyed it. And there’s been some I think some great takeaways. But designers. When the business slows. So thanks, man.

Peter:
Thanks, Dan. Thanks, man, I appreciate you having me on. Thank you for the platform and super grateful for your time as well. Thank you.

Dan:
Ok. So that was meant to be the end of the episode.

Dan:
However, Pete and I stayed on and just kept talking about the parallels between our businesses. After about 20 minutes, we thought we should hit record. So in the next section, we discuss something that’s quite unconventional for founders of branding firms to say. Plus, we talk about the importance of being selected with clients and been willing to have tough conversations. Also, the importance of word of mouth referrals for new business. Enjoy.

Dan:
We talk a lot about the importance of bran. But, you know, like the work that we do. But how important do you reckon it is for the clients to have a great business for us to start with?

Peter:
Yeah, it’s it’s an interesting conversation to have. And I had this with a friend of mine who lives in the States that his name’s Gavin Diago and he’s a successful entrepreneur. And he said something to me the other day when I sent him something to kind of look at and say, hey, what do you think of this brand? And he he kind of said something that really threw me. He was like, you know, he said, it’s not the brands. It’s important. You said it’s your product. Number one, he said it’s how you market that product number two and brand. He sees it as number three. And this is someone who’s involved in a handful of businesses that are all quite successful. They all do have pretty, pretty unique and impressive brands. He runs a men’s wear store in Venice Beach called General Admission. He runs a I think he’s an investor and a founder. And a few companies are Garratt Large, which is an eyewear range branded as a clothing company. But it’s kind of like what he said in that sentence kind of really threw me. And it just made me realize, you know, like, you know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. And it’s like it’s important thing to consider because, you know, how do you measure the important, your success as someone who creates brands? How do you measure that success? And there’s a few levers that you can pull up and down.

Peter:
And like people like Chris Do and those guys talk about this quite a lot. But, you know, at the end of the day, like, if you’re if your product is not good, it doesn’t really matter what how good this brand is because people are going to have it, you know, try it for the first time and not enjoy it. And no matter what your brand is saying, whether it’s engaging that person or not, if it’s if they’re not buying into the product because it doesn’t do what they wanted to do or tastes like they wanted to taste, it’s going to be a bit of an uphill struggle. So, you know, that conversation with him, the ad really kind of made me think about the kind of clients continue on. You know, we had yeah, like we we had a client a few months ago who came to us with this kind of idea. And they were like, and we’re like like, well, I can see how we can make a really interesting brand around this, but I just didn’t buy into the idea. And I think, you know, as a as a branding and as a design business, like, look what you and I do, I think there’s value in being quite picky and who you take on as a client. Like, do do we want to go and create a brand for a product that we don’t really believe in?

Dan:
Yeah. So how do we get behind?

Dan:
If a team on board on it, I mean, it’s a luxury that you can shove when you’ve got, you know, in good and when times are good and when there’s a bit of an abundance of work, you can be a lot more picky. And I mean, in the early days, like we said before, you sort of end up saying yes to everything. But I think as we’ve gone on and has outgrown it for some five years now and it we’ve become a lot more disciplined with what work we take on. And to us, like, you know, beyond the product that the clients selling or the service delivery, because our hands are now why we like to have a collaborative approach and really see see what’s under the hood and the client’s business and be able to like, I guess, have an understanding of how they deliver that then of the day. Like our job is still external or external supplier. So we can’t while we can help and influence so we can recommend, we can’t change the way that that’s made. That’s delivered. So it’s still going to be like you’ve got to be very careful about the projects you take on, because what’s worse, like there’s been a really good product and it has been undersold. So it’s under promising, but over delivering. Like, everyone loves that.

Dan:
Like, if you if you go somewhere and you go to a shell, like a takeaway down the street and it’s like, you know, a Thai takeaway, it looks a bit crap, looks a bit dodgy, but the food’s amazing like you keep going back. It’s amazing. Whereas, like, the coolest, hippest restaurant in Sydney look amazing. It’s on Instagram, you know, it’s got beautiful paints and interior and the food shit house. You’ll never go back again.

Peter:
So it’s like pieces. Tastes like shit.

Dan:
I like is it’s only good is only valued like if it’s an alignment between the level of product or service and then the level of brand. Otherwise we actually do a disservice to the client because it’s like, hey, we’ve done a great job title. You guys can deliver on this. I think it’s such a challenge. And I mean, it’s something that we’ve we’ve experienced like we did we did a rebrand project a few years ago and there was a few warning signs of the client.

Dan:
You know, like they have quite a corporate and stuffy business. Obviously, they’re going to name any names. But, um, but we’re doing the workshop exercise and there’s a big team of them. And we’re like, we got to this idea of like, what’s your one word is like, oh, we’re inspiring and we’re, you know, quite motivated and stuff like that. And then you start looking at they had an app and you start looking at some of the software. Now, guys, this is like. And then I went visit their office and it was like like packed in like sardines. I was like, man, I like you guys. You’re kidding yourself.

Dan:
There’s branding and like, surface level design is not going to do anything here. Like this is a this is. Yeah, yeah. Little lipstick on a pig sort of thing like this is not going to withstand the test of time. And like, if I was in a better position, if I was in the position I was in today, I’d be able to go to them and say, look, guys like, thanks very much for the.

Dan:
But we’re not the right agency for you. But fact like you going to live through those situations and sort of reflect on and take lessons on. But yeah, I’d love to be able to go back in time and. Well, I mean, it’s good to do the project and just get it out sometimes. But, you know, to be able to go back and have a tough news to go to jail, it’s like this could go one or two ways, like we worked together. But these things like, to be honest, you guys need to change these things. Or like, we’ll wrap up here and we can refund you some of the money or something like that and. Yeah.

Peter:
Well, I think I think that’s that’s something that like we’ve learned to do pretty early on. It is is project planning a branding or a design project charge to the point where, you know, like, you know, like projects can go off off the rails sometimes in terms of timing because real life gets in the way and clients take longer to get back and miss the deadline and stuff like that. But essentially, like, you know, on this day, we’re handing over to you. And you know what I mean? Because and that’s. And I think it’s very important to do that because, you know, we’re not we’re not marketing agencies and people, people who run businesses that aren’t, you know, the people that run them who aren’t like kind of familiar with how a branding agency works. You know, they see creative agencies as a very kind of one size fits all. You know, your credit rating, you can do everything. I mean, we’ve had we’ve had clients. We’ve done Brannon’s. When they get a call, like when you’re gonna start doing our Instagram for us, we’re like, what? Like we don’t you know, we do. We make brands and then we we’re not a model agency. So I think it’s very important to be able to go like, hey, you know, we started this day. These are the milestones that we gonna have these the meetings going to have at this time and these days. But on this day, we’re going here. You guys are big hand over. There’s a final invoice being paid. And of course, we had a pick, you know, for you to pick up brain and we can help in any way possible. But, you know, essentially when our work does come to an end, we’re not a marketing agency whereby we’re going to help you market this. We’re just creating your brand for you, which is going to provide immense value if we do it properly.

Peter:
I think it’s I think having those type of conversations and as you get more experienced in business and get more experience, more comfortable and confident to be able to have those tough conversations, I just think that’s actually when our clients get a best, get the best from us is when we I would we did some reflection later on on the work we did last year. And we we looked at some of the great projects we did and the ones that we had some success with and the ones that delivered a return. And we looked at the relationships like what did those ones have in common? And it was the ones that the what they all had in common was just like brutally honest conversations between us and the founder or the Keita’s as Schumacher like. Very amicable. Yeah. Same time, like willing to pick up the phone if something wasn’t right on either side, like they would pull upa us up on something if they felt like we’d miss something. But at the same time we would be able to pick that, pick up the phone, call them, go. Look guys like I think we need to spend more time on this or this isn’t right or you need to change this and like have you consider changing this internally? And it was like having that. I mean, that was our raw, authentic conversation. And not not just this like, oh, this scenario where you’re just trying to you’re constantly plays like. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Like, you just take the order.

Dan:
It’s like, yeah, yeah. Every client has value that, you know, and completely unable to play devil’s advocate. Totally and.

Peter:
Yeah, and there’s there’s also the view of like, you know, like, you know, we grew up being taught that saying, you know, the customer is always right. And it’s like there’s not a case like the customer comes to us because I don’t know how to create brands the same way that we take our car to get service. A mechanic, cause you don’t know how to fix it ourselves, like you would never take a car to get fixed. And then no mechanic’s doing what he’s to do. And you start telling him, hey, I mean, you might I would. I would you know, I would never go and say, hey, like don’t. Yeah. Like, don’t answer that. Don’t don’t cut that cable, don’t you. That’s right. Like you just let him because you don’t know what to do. And I think, you know, there’s there’s immense value in having that conversation with the client in the early days. You’re going, hey, like there could be a situation where we don’t agree with each other and we might butt heads a little bit. And it’s never a personal thing. It’s just for the greater good of what we’re trying to all achieve. For your business, you know, and obviously our outcome as well. We want a favorable outcome for us. We want to create something that succeeds for you and we can get behind to be proud of. So I think having those kind of, you know, like you said, as as your experience, those become quite easy to have. But in the early days of my career, like I would battleground this conversation, now I have them out the back because I’m just I’m comfortable having them because I know how much value there is in having them and a client go how I want you to make this blue. It’s I that’s the wrong thing to do. And you should be able to say that to your client to go like, I’m not going to do that. And this is these are the three reasons why. And, you know, they’ll appreciate it in the long run, I think.

Dan:
I mean, like, the only reason you have those conversations is because you care and you come in from like an area of expertise. Like, if you just like. Yeah. Hello. If you just sort of like let it let it roll in and do nothing. It’s probably a state of like apathy, which is like I don’t care like path of least resistance. So like, yeah, it’s sort of I think it’s good. I think it’s like I think it’s a mark of of of a good agency to actually push back on ideas or challenge ideas, not not to be painful, but also to like to ask the question, because it’s like you said, taking your car to the mechanic and like, you know, you don’t go there and you’ve diagnosed it and he you go just fix this, this and this. Like it’s like jumping on Web MDA and you’re going to your doctor and going, I need this medication because I already diagnose myself.

Peter:
Like not like that actually doesn’t. But I think also your delivery as well. I think just being really conscious of how you how you deliver that. And that’s a skill that I’ve had to kind of figure out and grow over the years, as, you know, how to how to be constructive without coming across as like an arrogant or rude or just deliver it the wrong way. And I think there’s I think there’s a skill in that as well. I think, you know you know, like you’re saying like if you get someone to think your idea is their idea that you’ll get them over the line, it’s like that, you know, you kind of you don’t want to be too kind of psychological about it and be like this whole mindgames thing. But like, you know, you all set out what you wasn’t doing is going like, you know, being offensive where the client is. You know what? You’re actually not a nice human being. And I’m not going to tell anyone about you guys. I never want to work with you ever again. Use your dick. So it’s good to get that balance.

Dan:
So to that point, like, I think as you become an expert in a certain industry or nation, like, it really allows you to say from an you know, from an area background and you can use a story or a scenario as well to tell that that’s something I say to my guys a lot of the time. Now I say, like, we should just talk and stories like we should, you know, if someone asks about us situations like, oh, that’s a really good really, you know, someone says, oh, what’s the importance of, um, you know, customer research or something like that or something like that. You can refer to a case study where you go, oh, we did a rebrand for a trucking company, you know, a few years back. And what we did as part of that was interview some of the most loyal customers and their favorite sort of key accounts. And one of the things that came out of that was this concept of like, if I book my transport with these guys, I can sleep at night knowing it will arrive. And then what flowed from that was a position in line that we use today, which is deliver in confidence. And it was like a line that was born straight out of a conversation, like a direct conversation with one of their key accounts and was like, what’s that like? We would never would have got to that line. Like, yes, we would have got the idea that they’re very good, they’re very capable. They’re very you know, you can have this assurance, this level of assurance, but not that feeling of if I do this, I can sleep at night knowing that I’ve gone with this company over someone else.

Dan:
And it’s like this so much that you miss out on. If you know, people say, oh, we don’t need to do we don’t need to do research. And it’s like, I don’t know what to sit in a focus group. I don’t do like that sort of stuff. I’m not going to do like lots of surveys and get people to review our work. But I do want to pick up the phone and speak to a few of your staff. If we’re doing a rebrand, I do want to speak to some of your best clients because the stuff that comes out of that is so, so important. And it’s shit that you guys don’t have in your head like you guys in the client, like the five people in the workshop. Like they they’ve got a a view on something, but their staff might have a completely different perspective and. Yeah, and those and the and those interviews at the same time, like the fact that the fact the sheer fact that you’re sitting in the room asking someone for their opinion on on a brand or a company, immediately when they see the new brand, they have so much more buy in because they can feel they feel like they’ve contributed. So it’s like it’s so this like we have a process and some people say, oh, can you again? Like, it’s you know, it’s the client pushing back on the client. Like, can’t like, OK, can we skip this bit? Can we skip that because like we have we have an approach like it’s like you have, you have a prize that day.

Peter:
We get it all the time. Like I discovery and research is the longest part of us. Six generations like it. And we get it all the time. I don’t do the research. You’ll just give me like a bunch of documents and you’ll get to understand what we do. And I was like, you know, like the researchers, though, is a foundation of where these things that come from, like if we if we get this thing wrong, like you guys, I was used like a building analogy. You know, you guys talking about what curtains you want to put up and what cushions you want to have, but you haven’t even put the walls on the floor down yet. Like, we’ve got to get this stuff super solid in a good place before we start talking about color palette purgatory. Like it’s got to stand for something so important. Conversations to have for sure.

Dan:
And another one, how important are referrals for you and and how do you go about getting more? Because I’ve got a view on our business. But I mean, for us, like we were five years and a half a whole, a complete sort of history is built on word of mouth referrals. We’ve got a few little things through through the website and through, you know, LinkedIn or something like that. But for you, is word of mouth the most powerful one?

Peter:
It absolutely is. And I think it’s something that we haven’t really taken that seriously in terms of having an actual structure of how we deliver that and get clients to do it. It’s something that I’ve been very conscious of for the last few months, and it’s something we’re kind of we’re really looking at. But I mean, in terms of our revenue streams and where it comes from, I reckon we’re about 80 percent. Word of mouth and referrals. So, yeah, it’s so important. And you know what it does? It just make sure that you you kind of do a good job. And and I’m not like saying that now is like your day job, but you can take that even further. Back to the conversation we are having earlier about like, you know, is this the right kind for me? Do I believe in this product enough? Because if I don’t believe in the product enough, I’m probably not gonna be into this into this project as much as I should be, which means the brand isn’t gonna be as effective. And if you don’t believe in a product, is probably not gonna be a success anyway. And then that person is not gonna give you a referral because essentially that whole thing’s flopped. So I think there’s multi layers and different facets to that, to getting a referral. But essentially, like the flow is like, you know, when that referral comes in the door initially, like qualify it properly, make sure it’s a product that we believe in that we think is going to work and we think we can genuinely add value to and then build something of value and then deliver that. And then, you know, you’ll you’ll be you won’t have any issues getting referrals. It’s it’s it’s the most important way to get business for us completely.

Dan:
I mean, that’s that’s been our thing for years. Like, we’ve got a little bit of stuff, like I said, through through other streams. But essentially what we’ve done is do more of. Was actually say no to certain referrals.

Dan:
So we used to be a lot more a lot more selective with the new projects that we took on, because essentially, like you get more of what you put out. And I’ve had this mantra in my head for the last few years now. I’ve just like do good work, show good work, get good work. And it was essentially like like you got do good work. It’s at the end of the day, like we’re only as good as the work that we do. If we’re not delivering value then then like. No, no Instagram strategy. No, no blog.

Dan:
There’s no thing like yeah, there’s nothing that I solved that like if we don’t have real case studies of of businesses who have done well through the through the service we’ve delivered, then nothing else matters. And then it’s about showing that works are only showing you the work that you want to get more of. Like don’t you know. Yeah. You might have done a really cool cafe or you might have done a really cool, I dunno, whatever type of business. But unless you wanna get more of those types of products or services, don’t profile it, even if it’s like if it is really cool, really Najd. Like if you don’t want another one of those, don’t show it. Cause I will. And then it’s about just getting it and then like and then make actually asking for the referral. It’s amazing. Like offer a good project. How, how easy it is to say to a client. Okay, it’s been awesome working with you. We really like. We really like working with you. Who someone else that you know, that you think could benefit from our services. And the people love people love connecting. I’ve found in business like it’s actually I love it as well. Like I love introducing a good supplier to a business and having no involvement.

Dan:
Yeah. But I you know, I used a hundred percent that this thing like where I used to work with, like you want to be the gatekeeper and you wanna manage everything.

Dan:
But these days if I know good people I’d much rather them just connect without me being involved. Like I like I like that I may have made that introduction. But at the end of the day, if both of those people are happy with that situation, that’s like a massive win. And I can. I can just, like, leave and not have to be irresponsible about laughter, like, it’s like there you go.

Dan:
You guys you guys are cool.

Dan:
I don’t I don’t want to, like, clip the ticket or something. It’s only I just think that’s so like it’s just dead.

Peter:
It’s so it’s so funny you say that because we’ve we’ve actually there’s certainly parallels between your business and our business, like it’s um. Yeah, we were the same like, you know, early days, like yes. We’d say yes to everything and then like, you know, someone came in and wanted some SVO work and we were like, oh yeah, yeah, we’ll get like a friend of ours do. But we’re going to put some margin. And it’s just like for now, it’s like, you know, I had a client from yesterday is like and since I mean, like I got 25000 email addresses and I need to send them all an email and, you know, get them to create a profile on my on my Web site, I’m like initial reaction was like we could charge Scott a couple of grand. And then I was like, what am I thinking? Like, you kind of have to slap yourself out of it. And I got a guy who’s got like a an email like news that a company essentially and I just find about referred it to him into a cell phone. He thinks I’m a hero. The client thinks I’m a hero. They’re going to bring me more luck. It’s it’s that kind of approach, just like providing value that you can provide. And if you can’t provide value, who do you need on your network that you can introduce to make that person?

Peter:
Because it’s just gonna make you a hero of it, you know, and the ones where you don’t have complete trust, like just don’t refer. Like, I used to be like taun of like someone like, you know, someone who can do this, you know, know.

Dan:
And I’d be like I’d be like trying to find that person. Then I’d be like, look, you know, I’d you know. Yes, I know these people, but I can’t vouch for their work. So I’d rather not like it’s like, you know this. Yeah. I don’t know. Or just put in a caveat to it like, hey, I know these guys. I think they’re pretty cool, but I haven’t used them. Feel free to check them out. But it’s not like I’m not I’m not endorsing this, whereas other ones I like stand behind it. Like guys like we’ve got a science guy up here that we work with so many projects and he’s done like, amazing. We did a gin distillery up in the Sunshine Coast and I just connected them directly and they did all that like location signage with them. And it’s like, I know I can give them his number, give them Justin’s number and he’ll just like smash it out of the park. Like he designed and built a LCD mean for our wedding. I like a neon like a cluster neon sign.

Dan:
Like it’s just a and like he just if he says is one those guys that if he’s like if he says he’ll do it, do it, do it really well. But if he can’t do it, he’ll tell you.

Peter:
Early on I actually need a leader and I’ll give my license do to introduce me. His idea is just amazing.

Dan:
But yeah, he’s just like, awesome. I just love people who those people those businesses that just make your life easier because you can refer them work and they, you know, they’re going to do it right.

Dan:
And like, it’s just it shows perfect. And then you look like a legend because you might you just like, of course. And then like, oh, it was like, yeah, of course, it’s really good. Like, I wouldn’t have referred or I wasn’t gonna surprise.

Dan:
Thank you for listening to this episode of Discover Someone Remarkable. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your network to support us. Please subscribe and leave a five star review to learn more about us or the guests on this show. Visit dsrb.com.au/podcast. DSR Branding exists to inspire people to love what their work represents. We hope that this episode has inspired you to think differently.

Episode Links:

Electric and Analog

Medmen 

Later.com

All COVID-19 Ads are the same

The Futur 

Snask

Pete’s Keynote at Pause Fest 2020  

 

The Podcasts

Chris Do The Futur

Creative Rebels

School of Greatness

Business of Hype

How I built this

Jake and Jonathan Show

 

Books

Losing my virginity – Richard Branson

Mind Power – John Kehoe

Let my people go surfing – Yvon Chouinard

Creativity INC – Amy Wallace & Edwin Catmull

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