The Best of 2017 (So Far), Part 1

Interview with John Lowry, Allan Heinberg, Greg McKeown, Juliet Funt, and Don Schneider

Episode Description

Thank you so much for listening to another fantastic run of Building a StoryBrand podcasts. Because we’ve covered so much great content, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what we’ve learned. For these next two episodes, we’ve selected several excellent clips for you to revisit or catch up on what may have missed.

During the sunny weather and the long days, many of us take well-needed breaks, spend time on our most important relationships, and prepare ourselves for a launch in the fall.

Some of the best of our past episodes are just what you need for this time. Greg McKeown and Juliet Funt will not only help improve your business, but they also offer excellent advice to bring balance to your home-life, too.

Our other three guests will gear you up for the fall and take your business to the next level. We discuss how to sharpen your negotiating skills with John Lowry. We also have some powerful takeaways about story and transformation from A-lister writer Allan Heinberg. And Don Schneider, marketing genius behind the memorable ads of Pepsi, HBO and GE, spills secrets on how to use big brand marketing strategies on a small-scale budget.

Summer is a time for recreation, rest and reflection. Whether you’re on a vacation or staycation, mull over the highlights of what we’ve covered in 2017 and evaluate whether you’ve incorporated them into your business. Listen to this week’s episode as we recap the best of each interview or read the summary of them here and link to each full episode.


#1: Get Tough with Competitive Negotiators

John Lowry, VP for Development at Lipscomb University and President of the Lowry Group

Each of us naturally tends to take either a competitive or a cooperative approach when we enter negotiations.
If you’re the cooperative sort like me and look for the win-win, you need to understand how to deal with someone who has a win-lose approach, or … you’ll lose.

John tells us when dealing with a competitive negotiator, you have to respond in kind — push back if they push you. If you try to respond nicely to a competitive negotiator, they will see it as weakness and move in for the kill.

It’s counterintuitive for those of us who have a heart for the win-win, but if you get tough when they get tough, the competitive negotiator will become more cooperative. Learn more tips on how to sharpen your negotiating skills to deal effectively with whoever is sitting across the table.


#2: Sell Your Customers a Better Version of Themselves

Allan Heinberg, writer and producer of The Catch, Grey’s Anatomy, and Wonder Woman

As business leaders, we can sometimes forget there’s an element of artistry to what we do. We have a story to tell — one that not only benefits our brand but also benefits our customers and makes them better people.

Allan, a master storyteller, teaches us how to craft a narrative to help our customers become better versions of themselves. Brands have amazing narrative power because our purpose is to help our customers transform. If you sell a product, Allan tells us the ideal scenario is to sell an extension of your customers which helps them step into who they fully are.

How can your product act as a mirror that reflects the best of who your customer is?

How can you serve your customers in a way that helps them become who they’ve always wanted to be?

Allan says that his goal as a writer and producer is to serve the characters, the story, and his audience. He strives to help them on their journeys. Your real focus as a marketer is to serve your customers and help them reach their potential. Tap into other great insights on how story can help your customers transform.


#3: Filter Good Opportunities Through a Long-Term Vision

Greg McKeown, leadership and business consultant and author of Essentialism

Greg McKeown explained opportunity costs in perhaps the clearest and simplest way I’ve ever heard: “Every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re saying ‘no’ to something else.”

Greg tells us that we often approach opportunities as if we live in a vacuum.

We ask, “Is this a good thing?” And the answer is usually “yes”.

Then we try to fit it in, and we end up stressed out trying to make it all work.

This approach is completely insufficient for pursuing things that really matter. Greg recommends taking the time to get a long-term vision. To do that, we should contemplate the legacy handed to us and the legacy we want to leave long after we are gone.

Once we’ve become radically clear on our purpose, Greg suggests we pull everything out of the closet of our lives and ask, “Is this really the best use of me? Is this really the thing that’s going to matter in the long run?”

If it’s not, minimize your contribution to that area or eliminate it altogether. By saying “no” to these things, you’re saying “yes” to your greater purpose. Find the time this summer to get radical clarity on your long-time vision. Gain more perspective on how to discover your reason for being — your why, so to speak, so you can live a richer, fuller life.


#4: Incorporate “White Space” at Work So You Can Practice It at Home

Juliet Funt, CEO of Whitespace at Work

Juliet says business leaders are uniquely positioned to solve a lot of pain at work by incorporating “white space” — short, strategic pauses or intentional thinking time throughout our days.

White space has vast implications for work, our personal health, and, most of all, our home life.

When you start practicing white space at work, and encouraging those you work with to follow suit, you’ll not only boost creativity and productivity but you’ll also be prepared to “lean into” these pauses at home. This will have profound effects on your health and happiness.

Juliet says we’re missing precious time with our loved ones because of our inability to be truly present. We can’t seem to stop the machine whirring in our heads. But if we can remind each other one moment at a time to build in the habit of the pause, it makes it so much more possible for us to say ‘yes’ to our loved ones when important moments show up.

Find out more about how to build some white space into your work day so you’re ready to be truly present at home.


#5: Find Your “North Star” and Be Loyal to It

Don Schneider, award-winning executive creative director, ads for Pepsi, Visa, GE, and HBO

You may not know his name, but you’ve watched his commercials, which is the way Don Schneider likes it. He doesn’t want you to notice you’re being marketed to when you’re watching a Pepsi or HBO commercial. Instead, he wants to tell you a story, evoke strong feelings, and build an association with that brand. You won’t even know why you’re reaching for that Pepsi or signing up for that Visa card.

We choose products not necessarily by superiority, but by affinity.

Which product best represents who we are or who we’d like to be?

Don works with billion-dollar brands. They can afford to entertain us with style. But for small budgets, you may not have the luxury of not asking directly for the sale. You may have to make your messaging obvious or a whole lot of nothing will happen. How does a brand on a smaller scale and budget associate strong feelings of affinity? What would Don suggest to companies on smaller budgets?

“Come up with your North Star, what you stand for, and make sure that every aspect of who you are is loyal to that and informed by that.”

Don points out this creates synergy. Everything works together, from your packaging to your messaging to your store experience. Each aspect tells your brand’s story and declares your overall idea.

For Apple, it’s excellence. For Anthropologie, it’s discovery. For TOMS shoes, it’s philanthropy.

What’s yours?

Don says find your North Star and align all messaging with it. By doing this, your customers will understand who you are and bond with your brand. For more secrets on how to up your game in building brand affinity, listen in and glean from the best.


The purpose of Building a StoryBrand podcast is to help you grow your business and reach your full potential. As you spend some time resting and reflecting this summer, think of one change you can make to improve your personal relationships and one action step to move your business forward.

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Executive producer: Tim Schurrer
Additional production and editing: Chad Snavely

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