Using Brand Strategy To Differentiate In The Market

Building Brands Ep 19 Michael Bustin Using Brand Strategy To Differentiate In The Market

Michael Bustin, Global Chief Growth Officer at Durasein talks about how he and Durasein used brand strategy to differentiate itself as the company entered the American market and what key aspects of the strategy gave Durasein the ability to really connect with its audiences and build a community around the brand allowing it to break through in a commoditized market.

Episode Links
Find Michael on LinkedIn
Visit Durasein USA Online
Visit The Bustinator Online

Episode Transcript
Tim
Welcome Building Brands listeners. For our 19th episode I’m joined by Michael Bustin Global Chief Growth Officer at Durasein. Durasein is a solid surface partner for designers to give their ideas the support they deserve without the fuss, whether it’s as simple as a sink or in their wildest idea they’ve got you covered. They’re the creatives here to help you create. In this episode, Michael talks about how he endures a news brand strategy to differentiate itself as the company entered the American market, and what key aspects of the strategy get yours and the ability to really connect with its audiences and build a community around the brand allowing it to break through in a commoditized market. Enjoy the episode.

Tim
If you’re an owner or marketer in the building materials, manufacturing, distribution, or contracting spaces, looking to set up your brand for success now and in the future, this is the podcast for you. on this show, we talk about brand and market strategies used in the real world that grow companies and truly connect with consumers. Audiences so sit back, listen in and let’s get to it.

Tim
Okay, welcome Michael Bustin Global Chief Growth Officer at Durasein. Thanks for coming on, I found Durasein online and I was like I have to reach out to these guys and talk to someone over there and I was lucky enough to get introduced to you through the MORTARR crew. So thanks for being on. It’s awesome to get you here. I always like to start with easy questions. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about who you are. And then we can get into design a little bit too. Well, cool.

Michael
Well, well thank you very much, Tim, for having me on your podcast. I’m excited about this and you got to get a great thing going. So yes, I’m Michael Bustin the Chief Growth Officer for Durasein. A little bit about myself. I grew up in a building family, my dad was in the construction industry, most of his life, specially construction. So I kind of grew up, banging nails and bending metal. So throughout my childhood, I was always on and off job sites of Various types. And again, growing up, you know, around my dad, it was all about kind of building and making things, and usually with it with attention to detail and quality. So from there I went into I went to college. It’s quite unique how I where I started where I am now. But I went to school University and graduated both in physics in mechanical engineering. And yeah, so it’s a pretty, pretty crazy, so moved from upstate New York down to Albany, New York after graduation.

Michael
From there, I worked for General Electric as a junior engineer on a special project. And after about a year or so dealing with with kind of big corporate America, I started looking at, you know, what else can I do? And somebody said to me at the time, you’d be really good in construction project management. So I thought to myself, yeah, that’s pretty cool. So join joined this general construction company in Albany. And at the time, I was the youngest Project Coordinator, you know, as a typical stereotyping of the young guy. white hat to clipboard. And so that was Baptism by fire that got me kind of into the professional world of construction. You know, from there, I had an opportunity to move down to North Carolina where I currently reside, to start a site construction business for a gentleman in New York, and worked for the company for a little over a year and a half.

Michael
And I decided to explore this entrepreneurial thing a bit more in the world of surfacing. There was a concrete using concrete and interiors was going on at the time. And there were a couple of interesting people around the world that were doing some really beautiful stuff in concrete products using them in interior projects. So I stumbled upon this gentleman, California, and noticed that he was looking for a national sales director at the time, contacted the gentleman and said, Hey, I know about the industry. This and that long story short, he hired me as his national sales director, and in that category of finished concrete products, architectural concrete products. It was the first of its kind to have have an outside Sales Director, National Sales Director At that time, it allowed me to really step foot into some of the coolest architectural design firms in the country. I’ve always loved architecture always loved design design, really is part of who I am. It runs through my veins since I was a, you know, probably four or five years old. And it was an opportunity to really, you know, the people that I read about and I admired as far as architects and designers, it allowed me to walk into their offices and see how they operated. And and that’s when kind of the world opened up to me.

Michael
I did that for about a year and a half and was asked to move to San Francisco. And I said, while I love San Francisco now. So being being young and little naive, I said, You know what, I’m going to do this. I’m going to get into this this world of concrete and I’m going to focus on the commercial industry. And I’m going to I’m going to build a big business that bigger and better than than anybody else, not knowing how hard it was in 2012 had the opportunity to exit, I sold my interest. And you know, during that time, I really became obsessed with this thing called brand. And in our industry, there were a couple of bleeding surfacing companies at the time that I really emulated. And one of them particular, I just loved what they were doing. And, and they always seem to have the greatest photography and the greatest materials and the greatest, you know, collaborations with architects and designers. It really opened up my eyes to what brand was all about.

Michael
And when we had our business, we developed these, these cement based composite materials that we applied a name to the material, and we did that purposely. So it was the company that made these materials and that material then allowed us to go to architects and designers and get the material specified as the sole material hopefully with no alternatives or equals when the business was purchased during that time as well. I also became obsessed with Paul Like relations and, and the power of communication and how you know, if you if you know how to talk to people and you’re passionate excited about what you do, there’s other people that are willing to write a story and tell the story when you have that kind of third party validation as opposed to paying for an ad. You know, it means a lot more. And we had a lot of successes with a lot of product placements, in editorials and stories written about us in our company. And one of the reasons when we were when our business was purchased one of the reasons not only was for the material, the process we had, but it was also because the person the company bought our business that every time we open up a damn magazine, we see you guys in here you guys are doing really radical stuff. That was quite an interesting ride. It really taught me about business and really dove into all aspects of the design build world.

Michael
When I sold the business in 2012, I said to myself, okay, now what, what do I do now? I want to break out of the building world in the architectural world. Little bit. And I want to get into the world of branding and marketing. So I had a gentleman that I knew for probably 10 years, and he ran a boutique agency here in Raleigh, Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina. And I approached him said, Hey, I’m thinking about getting this world of, of advertising and marketing. And, you know, I said, I really love the power of a brand. So I said, Sure, why not? Let’s do it. So at year one things kicked in and and I was with the company. for about six years, I headed up all new business development. And for me, it was it was an incredible experience because we work with firms, the smallest startups, to multibillion dollar chemical companies and foreign pharmaceutical companies. And what I learned during the way an agency specialized in brand strategy first, and great creative, creative executed Against brand strategy. It gave me the opportunity to sit down to table with people of all types, mostly C suite executives and CEOs, again, from startup to multibillion dollar.

Michael
And what I learned at the time where I doubted myself when I had my business, where I always said to myself, you know, I’m not successful, not successful, because I equated success with money. I realized that all of these companies had the same issues that I had, I mean, the issues were less than, you know, pretty much encountered on one hand, so I put things in perspective, like, wow, we really did, you know, some great stuff back in the days and we were really on the right path. You know, we had the same problem that all these other companies have with 10s of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars. So in 2016 17, I got in this personal branding kick, most of us know Simon Sinek and, you know, the the Golden Circle, and that video that circulated the TED Talk video, I think 2012 where he’s up on stage talking about the, you know, the what, how and why. That that was super powerful. And I stumbled upon it probably 2016 1516 at the agency. And throughout my life, I’ve always wondered what I was all about, you know, some people go through that. And when I when I saw Simon Sinek in the in the Golden Circle, and I saw the why and the power of why it really resonated with me personally as a personal brand. And also for a business how important it is to know your why.

Michael
So I embarked on a personal branding project, and I assumed this nickname at the agency called the Bustinator. And it really allowed me to analyze who I am, what do I do, and we built some messaging around that and some key points around that and put together kind of a fun identity that encapsulated who I was. And through this process of personal branding, I realized and articulated what what I was all about in In what I realized is, I really enjoyed helping other people be successful. And a mutual friend of mine and the CEO of our company now contacted me and said, Mike, I’m meeting with this, this this company, durer thing, and the CEO is talking about branding and marketing all this crazy stuff and, and she asked me if I knew anybody I thought of you, you know, so be great if you could fly up in and meet with the CEO of this company. So we had a couple conversations and she was very interested in me and I, I was I remember standing in my kitchen with my wife and debating what do I do? What do I do? And my wife said to me, Mike, you know, your personal brand is all about taking risks and busting through fear if success lies on the other side, you know, because of that, because of my personal brand, you know, purpose of helping others be successful. And because this person the CEO, was faced against adversity and being a woman, CEO In America and growing a business and competing with fortune 500 companies, you know, manufacturing the same material through all of this, she says you have to do this. And I’m like, Damn, you’re right. I mean, I if I don’t do this, then it goes against what I’m saying. And it’s like a brand if you’re not authentic, then you’re fake. So I’m like, I have to do this. So, at that point, I realized the power of brand personally, as well as business, as part of my transition of how I went through what I’ve done to get to where I am now,

Tim
I’ve heard a lot of the story where someone’s been exposed to building and construction and then ends up it’s usually the entrepreneurial spirit how they can actually like start to be part of the the communication process and providing value there. I I love the construction industry. I’m not so much into the actual constructing part, but I’m fascinated by it. But I love getting cool things in front of you may end up in a marketing communication after all, but tell us a little bit more about yourself. And as a company in like a little bit of a summary so we can take that bridge into how you guys you know, like you mentioned, it’s a Chinese company working in an American market and you said they had some things that they need to work on. Tell us a little bit about the company really quick so we can roll into like that ramp up of why it was so important to get into the foundational brands. Sure. Awesome.

Michael
Yeah. So the company Durasein is 21 years old, started by husband and wife, they saw solid surface looking at surfacing for their home and 21 years ago and said this is a really cool material and said, I want to do this I want to make this material and I want to be the best in the world someday. Fast forward since the inception in 1999. Gerson has been and we continue to be predominantly OEM manufacturers, so we actually specialize in manufacturing not only sheet material, solid surface sheet materials, but we also specialize and we call shapes so sinks and bathtubs and, and shower systems and various vessels. Sometimes furniture, that sort of thing on an OEM basis, we shipped over 55 countries, a lot of European countries, we manufacture sinks and tubs. So all the modern, really cool sinks and tubs You see, probably, we probably do a lot of them in 2016, where the CEO said, we have to, we have to break away a little bit from this OEM because others are telling us what they want, and we do what they want. And you know, we want to have our own brand. We want to show the world it’s time for us, you know, to build our own brand. And so 2016 she said, why not in America, we had OEM clients in America for at least 10 or more years, and said, hey, let’s start the brand in America came over here, a hired some consultants hired some, let’s call them experts from the industry that had been in the industry for many, many years, and said, we’re going to do this thing and then we’re gonna, we’re gonna start our own brand. That’s kind of how things started as far as the brand side of it. When I came into the picture. I think that the challenge was hiring people. had been in the industry for so long. They had a different perspective. You know, it was it was kind of in the weeds. It was the inside out perspective as opposed to an outside in perspective, when I was talking to the CEO prior to coming on board, and she was talking brand, brand brand brand brand, you know, I said, I just want you to know, there’s three things that we’re going to need to build brand. It’s time money and people. And I said brand is not instantaneous, you know, brand takes a while it’s going to take three to five years, till brand kicks in to people understand what it is and start to resonate with others.

Tim
I also like to say it’s like a long term equity investment too, because it’s not like putting an ad on Google or an ad in a magazine, you’re building something that will rise up and be a long term impact that supports those other things.

Michael
Absolutely. The analogy I use with which I’m sure others do as well is and I say this frequently is we’re not out to win every single race we’re you know, Well to win the marathon, and and we will win the marathon. And we’ll have you know, we’ll have some some races that we win a short term, but you can’t look at winning all the time. We’re gonna win the marathon.

Tim
How do you actually define brand? I mean, everyone has like a little bit of a sentence description of what they they view it as how do you define it?

Michael
Yeah, like you said, I read at one point, the brand has, you know, professionally, you know, a 25 hardcore definition, but there’s hundreds of them. Yeah. And I, I equated very, very simple, it’s a consistent and continuous promise to your target audience. So that’s it. The brand is about connecting with people. And it’s about making a promise and delivering on that profit promise over and over and over again.

Tim
And like you said, when you were going through your transitions from going from being in the construction market market to being someone that promotes and builds up other companies in that market, you made the decision to go to this company because you were following your own personal brand, which is like a Little bit of a guiding light situation like, well, this is what I say I write, because I believe in it. So I’m going to do it and follow my own instinct. But it also affects everything. It affects tons of areas of a company, not just the marketing. But you know, I’m sure you’re using this across the board to keep everyone in a uniform path in a uniform direction.

Michael
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as you said, brand, the way the way I look at brand I mean, it’s really interesting. And when I was at the agency you hear either you’re on the agency side or you’re on the brand side, and I was on the agency side for six years. And now being on the brand side, it’s really interesting because it puts so much in perspective and it connects all the dots. And and brand I honestly I don’t know how companies survive or grow without brand in mind, and I’ve heard on a number of your podcasts and I believe the same thing that brand is much more than a logo brand is much more than a color scheme. It’s much more than a website is much more than doing Trade Show and collateral. You know, brand is deeply rooted. It’s the core of who you are, you know, it’s it’s this almost this living entity that does grow, you know, it matures. And it has a personality, and it has values. It’s something that connects at the heart level, you know, the mind level of individuals, and it is so powerful. To me, the interesting thing about brand and the power of brand, I find it fascinating how a brand can really shape a company internally. You know, most people think a brand on the outside, you know, consumer facing. To me, I’m more intrigued of how a brand can really almost design a business and shape a business internally, from people you know, to the culture to everything you do if you execute it against the brand, and you treat the brand like a person individual and you ask the brand, hey, should we hire this person? off? The brand says no, because you don’t fit these values, his personality etc etc. You know, it becomes a very, very valuable tool and a guiding light to shape the business, you know, moving forward. And I think the important thing as well, too is, is what I’ve learned is the alignment of strategies. You have to have some core that unites the various disciplines of a business and strategy. So when business strategy and brand strategy and marketing strategy and sales strategies are all aligned, that’s when magic happens. And when those things are in sync, that’s when a business really starts to succeed, become successful and happy.

Tim
When someone asks, What do I get out of a brand strategy? session, workshop exercise, whatever engagement? That’s the answer to that question. It’s the clarity of the alignment, taking this Beyond Marketing into your operations and, and how you’re building culture internally to not just your external communications. So that that is the answer to that value question. And it’s hard for some people to grasp that. So you know, these Continuing conversations to educate them kind of shows them the way and then hopefully we get them into our world because we love working on this stuff and, and it really does make a difference for people you know, and it bleeds strikingly close to business strategy to the point where sometimes it’s uncomfortable. We like to say we are people that could tell you how to take your product to the audience, but we can’t tell you what the product should be. And right when you get into brand strategy, sometimes you learn so much about the audience that you start to flirt with what products or services should be, and that’s a little bit where it kind of shifts from marketing and brand to business and like strategic planning from that side, but they come eerily close.

Michael
Yeah, aspects. Absolutely. You know, it when I was at the agency, you know, we should say something similar. And the thing is, is businesses you’re always in the weeds and you’re looking at the competition and you’re looking at it through the lens of others, including the competition and you’re comparing yourself and people lose focus of the target audience and the customer. And, and we would talk to people and we would say, you know, they’re like, Oh, I know, I know, I know. And we would question them. Do you know or, you know, do you really know? Or do you think, you know, and and having, you know, for us, and you touched upon this a little bit the importance of the third party, you know, or outside perspective again, yeah, the outside in perspective as opposed to the inside out and which was, which is why it was important for us. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years. I feel I know the industry really well, all facets of the industry, but for us it was it was important to get you know, somebody else, their perspective, and really less on us and more about the target audience and building this brand and persona around the target audience while still encapsulating you know some of our personalities and values and what have you. So it’s very important to to have that, you know, that outside perspective because professionals like yourself, look at brands and companies from a different perspective. And like you said, from a product perspective, we used to tell people like will build awareness. I mean, you know, marketing wise, we’re gonna get eyeballs on us, okay? And we’re going to generate leads, okay? But if your product or your service isn’t good enough, we can’t fix that. So there are instances where, you know, you have to change your product or your service, especially nowadays, because nowadays, it’s, it’s pretty much table stakes to have good customer service, good pricing, a good product. So the differentiation comes into brand from that end of it, but you still have to have a really good product or service.

Tim
Yeah, let’s talk about that differentiation a little bit. This is a company that was doing OEM work in the country already, but by going down this brand route they were trying to bring how they believe surfaces could improve builds and designs into the market and in a way that other people weren’t talking about it. So how did brand contribute to that type of approach to setting yourselves apart and start that path towards being the best surface company in the world? Like their original goal is?

Michael
Good question. I think, for us it started, there’s no denying, and no surprise, solid surfaces and materials have been around for over 50 years. And since that time, at one point, it was most almost a billion dollar industry, one brand, one brand, almost a billion dollar and a billion dollar in sales globally. And since then, over the last 50 years, you know, natural stone engineer cord, sintered stone, you know, on and on and on porcelain, and solid surface kind of fell behind a little bit, especially in the residential market. So we looked at the industry and we looked at what the competition was doing, and we noticed that it was a sleepy category. And not only that, but a lot of the competitors, the big name competitors that are part of most of them multi billion dollar companies. They have various materials in their portfolio at dura saying, you know, We tell people, while we’re solid surface manufacturers, we’re really solid surface people. We focus 100% on solid surface. So right out of the chute, we had something different that 95% 98% of the competition didn’t have is we focus on one material. We saw it was a sleepy category. So get through our agency, as well as internally, we did a fairly comprehensive market analysis, you know, looking at the competitive landscape, you know, what’s the competition doing everything from, how they’re promoting themselves, what they’re talking about identity, all of that stuff, including marketplace opportunities. And part of that as well was, you know, communication, how are people communicating nowadays? And, you know, there’s no surprise that we all know that traditional media is is waning, it has been for years. Now it’s digital, it’s voice, it’s, you know, communication is changing daily. So we looked at what everybody else was doing and we interview heavily the target audience And we saw for us as well as really the material itself in the category, the emphasis was on the the architectural and design communities the AMD communities or designers as we call and through an extensive analysis, we saw all the pain points basically of architects and designers. So, you know, as we accumulated all of the data and information that allowed us then to construct a solid brand strategy that had a defined value proposition, defined purpose defined core, you know, the core of our brand, the DNA of our brand, as well as values, we kind of blend core values into what we call active values. And then we have the personality and out of all that so out of all this this research and time and strategic consultation from from, you know, from a great agency, we formed what we call the brand circle or some call it the brand by It’s really, you know, it’s a circle that has four parts to it with the core. It’s broken out, you know, as I said that the purpose and the value prop at the center is the core. And then you have the values in the personality. And out of that, as well came our messaging. And we noticed as well in the industry that the industry is very transactional. It’s very product centric, everybody talks about, it’s all about square sample colors. It’s all about project installations. And it’s all about features and benefits of the materials, period.

Tim
And still pricing.

Michael
Oh, yeah, well, yeah. And, of course, of course, yeah, of course, it’s usually price first is from it from a design standpoint, it’s usually visually first color, texture, reverse and immediately price. But price really almost always wins on a larger scale. So you know, we took all in consideration, we also saw that there wasn’t anybody really, you know, speaking to the target audience There’s this idea of manufacturers architectural material manufacturers building, you know, material manufacturers, where we have to create pictures to inspire architects and designers, right? It’s all about inspiration, inspiration, we kind of look at it differently. We look at it as No, no designers or creators, creative, actually, the work they do inspires us to develop and create these beautiful materials and products to get back to them to create the best work of their life. So, as you can see from our promotions, online promotion, digital promotion, what have you. There’s a consistent and inner frankness to our messaging and our messaging. Yes, we sell products, sort of everybody else. And yes, it’s a commodity. So is everybody else’s right? But what sets us apart is our messaging that is 100% about the target audience. And it’s about us helping them do something better. So that that’s the difference you know, get we have Great material, we have great capacity, great capabilities, so does everybody else. So when it becomes, you know us compared to them, how do you differ? That’s where brand comes in, because our materials are the same, the really good quality, we have all pretty much the same colors and what have you, we developed new colors. But what really sets us apart, you know, again, are those brand attributes in the power of, of the brand.

Tim
Yeah, and the industry is admittedly old, you’re seeing new generation start to take over. And part of that is reinventing the company and people are turning to brand and new executions for communications to bridge that gap. Design isn’t the only company doing this approach. But there are very few and a percentage out of the entire industry. And those are the those are the companies rising to the top right now. And it helps to be niche down to you because you can actually really focus on very specific audiences with very specific pain points and a very quality product to put in front of them. But the one thing that you mentioned that we could move on to a little Bit is this idea that you’re taking inspiration from the community instead of trying to, I mean, force is a strong word, but force it onto them to inspire them to come to you. And I know that you do a lot in the using the brand to build community with your audiences too. And you have some outside sites and community sites that you’re using to touch base with them to but your site also talks about that a lot to your messaging, and content development is geared towards that. So why don’t you talk a little bit about how you’re engaging those audiences in that like communal fashion user brand?

Michael
Yeah, so so I think it goes, it goes back to the strategy and it really proves how powerful strategy brand can be, where it allows us to explore new platforms and new communities and new devices and allows us to make you know, quick and easy decisions whether or not we engage with them. We buy them or not. Our brand is driven by creatives and Our messaging which is it’s almost a tagline now is we help creativity flow, help creativity flow in designers, we realized that designers, there’s their, you know, you’re creative yourself designers and architects like to create. Problem is, is that with life, the way the industry is, is it takes the fun out of creating because you’re dealing with all the other daily activities, you know building departments and legal issues and finances and pricing increases in building the, you know, the building industry, what have you weather and everything.

Michael
For us, we realized that and as we tell people, we’re more than just solid surface. We’re actually here to help you as a creative do the best work of your life. And the best of the best work of your life doesn’t have to be the most amazing architectural structure that you’ve ever seen. It could be something very small because you have designers that are big and small and you have projects that are big and small, and a small designer doing a small project or a big designer doing small project is just as important to them as you know, a starchitect doing something grant. So again, it’s all about helping design to the best work of their life, to deliver on that promise. And to really engage with the target audience. We have to be able to develop things, you know, tools and products to help them do the best work of their life. So what do we do? As you said, there’s some exterior sources that we aligned ourselves with one of them that everybody knows and building into now is material bank, and, you know, material bank, I knew about Material Bank for a number of years and a year a little over a year ago, I went to our CEO and said, we have to buy this platform. We have to jump on it. And of course, it’s expensive. And it was like well, I don’t know it’s a lot of money. I said, not only is this the new revolution, I mean this is changing the industry drastically. I said but our brand is telling us we have to do this, our values, in our personality, in our in our purpose is telling us we have to do this That pitch was so easy to sell, you know that platform, which we did that why did we do that? Because we understand our value prop actually is defined as where your creative partner understands what designers want, we help them get it. We understand that designers want things quick and easy. They want it when they want it. If all the designers are hopping on Material Bank, then dammit we have to hop on Material Bank because that’s what they want. So again, it was it was not a decision of it wasn’t looking at everybody else saying we have to do this because they’re doing it we have to do it because it’s what our brand sets.

Michael
Same thing with mortar. You know, MORTARR came online, you know showcasing providing inspiration to the commercial industry to designers. When MORTARR joined forces with Material Bank. Again, we looked at it and said, we have to do this. You know we have to do this because this is a tool that makes the designers life easy. So everything we do color development, we want it we want to create colors and patterns that that are on trend that are that are based on macro and micro global trends. So we again can give designers new materials to achieve the best work of their life. So all the messaging and everything we do, as you can see from something, you know, like our Instagram, there’s very, very, very, very little product installations on here. And we get flack for that a little bit. Like why aren’t you showing more products? Right? Because there’s a lot of product installation shots out there. We know we have that incorporated our website, what have you, but it’s about the designer and truly resonating and talking and speaking to them that we understand what creatives go through, and how important it is to help make their lives easier. It is all about community. It’s about really focusing and narrowing down, targeting that audience consistently, and providing information to them. Not providing cool material to them just for the sake of making their lives better and helping them get to a point with doing the best work of their life with or without our material.

Tim
Yeah. And if you aren’t meeting them, where they’re at, where are you meeting them. You’re not Right, you’re just putting things in front of them through forced advertisements and you can’t get to the point where you know where to meet them unless you put in the time and effort to understand them, and then follow their pain points and journeys from everything that they’re doing throughout the course of their job. The other thing you’re doing to help with that, too, is you’re using the brand persona to sort of be the front to engage with them, once you meet them in those areas, you’re using the persona through your values and your voice and tone to be the right voice speaking with them and, and get having that like, collaborative vibe when you’re engaging on those platforms.

Michael
Interesting as well. You know, you look at the industry and, and there’s a sales and marketing components, every industry including ours, and they usually in our world, there’s usually an individual that has a title of sales and marketing, you know, Director of Sales and Marketing, VP of sales and marketing. And we say his trade shows and collateral and websites and that stuff. That’s not marketing. It’s a part it’s a form of marketing. You know, that sales support. I mean, that’s you have to do that stuff for us, when we look at everybody else, the interesting thing is, especially in this time, you know, we’re all locked down in the world is what it is. Everything’s digital. And everybody’s at a device. How do you create content that appeals to them? I mean, how many pictures of a bathroom, a kitchen, a lobby or whatever? Can you see over and over again? So for us, when you have this strategy, it almost it puts you in a box. But yet, when you’re in that box, it’s unlimited what you can do, but at least it puts you in a box, as opposed to, we’re going to do a trade show. And what are we gonna do this year, you know, last year, we had helicopters, and whatever this year would have fired, we’re gonna have pyrotechnics and, you know, you start to do things, you start to look around and you’re confused, where us it’s very clear, ideas come to us like that. And our problem is just bandwidth. You know, it’s resources because there’s so many exciting things that we can do that keep building on our brand, and building on our mission and building on our purpose and our messaging. It becomes super exciting and super focused. need it internally when you’re having conversations, you know, amongst management and leadership, another important part of brand is it becomes this. As I said, you know, almost a person, almost a moderator, you know, where it eliminates a lot of frustration and confusion and aggravation and argument from conversations because I have my opinion, and you have your opinion, and the brand manager has opinion, and the sales director has their opinion. But in the end, it’s all about what the brand says. And when you have this strategy that everybody agrees upon leadership, and the team agrees upon from the beginning, and then you execute off of that there’s no debate, and we’ve had conversations where it’s no, I’m right, you’re right, I’m wrong. You know, okay, where’s the brand? say, okay, easy, you know, it’s over. So it truly is a powerful element that ties the whole business together internally and externally.

Tim
So if you had to sum up the most important thing that someone listening to this episode should take from this as something they should do for their brand right now. Which thing would it be

Michael
I mean, there’s, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of items.

Tim
We can’t do another 40 minutes.

Michael
Yeah, no, I know. I, you know, I think it boils down to the customer, or your target audience, I think you truly need to understand your customer, you have to love your customer, you have to immerse yourself in the customer’s world. You have to understand their likes, their dislikes, their pain points, how they communicate, I think people lose track of what they’re actually doing. And they get caught up in everything from marketing and sales and product development. compet looking at the competition, and they lose focus of the customer, the customer is changing their their communication habits, their buying habits, you know, everything is changing. And I think it’s really step back and look at your target audience and say, do we truly understand them? Are they the same target audience that we knew, you know, 10 years ago, five years ago.

Tim
Yeah that’s a very important point right there. Is the the legitimacy of the current state of that.

Michael
Right. Absolutely.

Tim
Yeah, for sure. It’s great that you’ve thought about this in the past, but if you don’t look me with how technology is changing, and communication channels are changing, and even people’s tastes in what products they like, and how they like to buy, all that stuff changes constantly, you at least have to look at it, if not every year, every couple of years to just keep up to date with it. And a lot of the you mentioned the early portion of this episode about how a lot of people say, Oh, yeah, we’ve thought about that. We know all that stuff. And when you’ve challenged them, you know, as you’ve done in the past, and as you do in the current company, now, when you’re re re addressing these things, you say, yes, but is that who they are now? And is this just the way you’ve always done it? Because when you’re bringing in an outside source, like you’ve worked with an agency or you’ve been brought into a company as an outside source, what you’re looking for is you want to be vetted and make sure that the current state is the right one which still takes research to confirm against it, or you need to shift to what the research is telling you it’s changed to that outside perspective is what gives that like little extra bit of clarity. So absolutely, you have to keep up with them. Any other final thoughts on that differentiation that you’ve used brand for?

Michael
I think it’s very important that people that companies really, really ask themselves, do they have a brand or they have a label, and really, truly understand what that means? I think it’s very important as well, to understand the importance of external agencies like yourself, that can offer a unique perspective and tell you things that question you in a way that you’ve never been questioned and challenged in a way you’ve never been challenged. I think that you know, I think I think that’s really important if you really truly want to build a brand and go beyond just a logo and some cool looking stuff. I think finally, to reinforce again, the power of strategy in business. And it’s one thing to have a great product, it’s one thing to have, you know, a good sales team. But if there isn’t an alignment of all the different strategies, it’s not going to work efficiently, it’s going to be frustrating. And you know, you’re leaving a lot on the table, whereas if all that strategies were aligned, the business becomes much more you know, it’s a well oiled machine with a lot more success and a lot more happiness, you know, internally, you know, employee wise and externally as well.

Tim
And like you said, you can move past the core questions of an issue because the brand will help satisfy the direction to go with that and concentrate on the details of the execution, which is much more fun for everyone to talk about. Anyways, so absolutely.

Tim
So before we wrap up, where can people find you if they want to the bust inator and where can they find out more about dressing?

Michael
Sure. Well, The Bustinator is thebustinnator.com, actually, and also be found on Instagram at @MichaelBustin and LinkedIn at Michael bustin. Durasein, is duraseinusa.com, @duraseinsolidsurface for Instagram and @duraseinsolidsurface on LinkedIn, as well as we’re across all the platforms. So you can pretty much find us anywhere.

Tim
Cool. Well, this is great. Thanks for coming on.

Michael
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you very much. It’s cool. Thanks.

Tim
If you’re interested in hearing more stories and strategic insights from industry experts, please subscribe to the Building Brands podcast on Apple, Spotify or Google. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please post a review and share with others who may be interested as well. Thanks for listening.