Importance of Branding and Marketing

Season 3 Episode 25

Importance of Branding and Marketing with Tripp Douglas

Season 3 Episode 25


Intro/Outro: Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast, the podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry we trust you'll enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast. I'm Ryan Eaton, your host, and honored to have you listening in with us today. We've received some questions lately on branding, communications, advertising, and to be quite honest with you, I don't know enough about all that type stuff. And so we brought in an expert, someone internally, Tripp Douglas, who's our Chief Communications Officer.

He also is a graphic designer by trade. He owns a graphic design company. He owns a coffee house, has a lot of different businesses that will help us kind of look at social media and advertising and branding. All from some different lenses. So with that, let's go ahead and get started today. Tripp. Welcome to the podcast buddy.

Tripp Douglas: Thanks for having me, man.

Ryan Eaton: I'm excited about you being here today because we got some questions regarding communications, kind of branding, advertising, marketing, and I joked about this with you, and I called you the other day, but you know, when you're trying to find who would be good to speak on this, I don't know what these guys are doing at other companies, right?

Mm-hmm. I may see like their external piece, but I don't see their internal and external. And so that's why I wanted to get you here today because you bring a, a great insight to us. You own your own design company. You've been in the communications business forever. You majored in graphic design before it was cool, right?

In the 25 years ago you were in it.

Tripp Douglas: Yep.

Ryan Eaton: And then you also helped a lot of restaurants with their advertising, their marketing, even getting into the menu side, like seeing what customers want, what the consumers are looking at, what. What makes 'em bite. Right. And so I really appreciate you being on the show today.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. I'm excited about it.

Ryan Eaton: With that, why don't you give us a little background, what made you get into the design side, start your own design company and kinda go through family, all that type stuff. I like the guests know who everybody is.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. I, I just always had a love for art, but I didn't wanna be one of those starving artists, you know, trying to sell paintings and you know, so I thought graphic design, here's a way I can actually, hopefully make a living out of it.

And so that's, that's how I got into graphic design. And right outta college, I did a lot of freelance work. Mm-hmm. That was kind of my goal. I thought was to, to be a freelance work from home. And I was able to do that. And I found out pretty quickly, I think what a lot of other people found out during 2020 is that we weren't necessarily wired, most of us to work from home all the time.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Tripp Douglas: And so I kind of got the itched entrepreneurial itch and opened a coffee house in 2003. That kind of served as my graphic design office and then, you know, kind of an outlet for, you know, being around people. And

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Tripp Douglas: Seeing that side of things and then the graphic design business grew and it got to the point where I needed to hire somebody and started hiring people in 2010.

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Tripp Douglas: And that studio's grown. Now we've got seven full-time designers.

Ryan Eaton: That's awesome.

Tripp Douglas: Located in an office close to the coffee shop. So we go back and forth several times a day. And then all throughout this I was doing work for Morgan White.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Tripp Douglas: I started off doing some freelance work for Morgan White from my college dorm room.

And as Morgan White grew, my role here grew as well.

Ryan Eaton: And you have probably built 150 websites, at least for Morgan White Group in that period of time. That's probably, at least, it is probably more than that.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. And that was at a time in the late nineties and early two thousands. Very much kind of Web 1.0 and that's right. You know, we've been building sites through those many transitions, building websites. Now it's so different than it was even five or six years ago because of just the, the way people consume websites on devices and the tension spans and that kinda stuff. It's, you just have to continue to evolve and change what you do.

Ryan Eaton: Well, tell me this kind of one of the things that kind of got, again, got this topic was some questions we had come in and getting into branding. I can use this kind of broadly at times, but tell me what, when you hear the word branding, What do you relate that to, or how would you define

Tripp Douglas: it? Yeah, so for me that's a, that's a huge topic, right?

I mean, when most people hear branding, most people tend to just think of the logo. Yep. You know, they say put, and which that's a huge part of it. Yeah, that's right. The logo is your brand. I mean, that's kinda where you get the word, like stamping a brand on something and saying, this is official. Right. And so the logo is hugely important, but from my perspective, branding is.

Much, much deeper than that. It it's the entire experience that people have with your company. I mean

Ryan Eaton: that's right.

Tripp Douglas: The, the whole process. Start to finish their interactions on your website, their interactions with your staff. But branding is also, I think even among your staff internal, which we're gonna talk about that.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Tripp Douglas: That's part of your brand. That's really who you are.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Tripp Douglas: The analogy that I usually use when I'm explaining this to clients is that, you know, people have a face. Companies have a logo. You know, if someone says the name Ryan Eaton, you know, I'm immediately gonna picture your face. But your face is not

Ryan Eaton: good looking guy. Yeah.

Tripp Douglas: as good looking as it is that your face is not who you are.

Ryan Eaton: Right, right. That's, I mean, that's That's right.

Tripp Douglas: That's the starting point. But who you are is your personality, your strengths, your witnesses. That's right. All those things that go into it. That's what people think of when they think of Ryan Eaton.

And for companies, it's the same way. The first thing you think of is the logo, but then, You know, your opinion of the company, which is where I, that's what branding is. Your opinion of the company is much, much deeper. And so like in the example, one of the most widely visible ones, apple. Yeah. If you say Apple, you think of the Apple logo, and then you start thinking of the devices, the iPads, the phones.

But then you probably also think of if you're an Apple customer experiences you've had in the store, good or bad. Yep. What it's like to own the device, you know? So it's. That's all branding, it's every bit of it. Every step of the way is part of branding.

Ryan Eaton: Well, I'm glad you say that. You actually almost kind of even answered my next question with that, because when I'm thinking about branding, you know, just from my side of the house, and anyone can look at it different ways depending on what you do in the insurance business, but I'm thinking even on the applications.

I'm thinking trademarks, I'm thinking website design, the whole process, start to finish on an enrollment. Then you're thinking about kind of how they're, another care may be dealing with this or that, or. Social media and kind of the whole piece and, and we get the question, and I'm gonna kind of tweak this question I have for you a little bit just because of how you answered the last one.

But I think a lot of people want that silver bullet. Mm-hmm. , right? They want, Hey, I just want the one little thing that's gonna help my whole brand and everything kinda explode and have millions of enrollments and millions of sales, or this or that. Yep. But there probably really isn't. One thing, it's a combination of all the type stuff that you were just mentioning.

So go into why there's not maybe one silver bullet with that or kind of your opinion on that.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah, you know, there's a lot of we see it all the time in the, in the advertising business where people, they will. Be touting one particular medium, right? Social media is the answer. Yeah. Or television or radio or print advertising or direct mail or you know, this is the one thing you need to be doing.

And like you said, there's no silver bullet. There's not one thing you know, despite what's a marketing things you might see. That's right. It is gonna be some combination of all those things and what fits your particular market, who you're trying to reach, where your customers are, but. I always point out to clients that a lot of times people are asking this question, they're just thinking about, what do I need to do on the advertising side?

But what they also need to be thinking about is what happens if the advertising works? What's the step two, the step three, step four, that the customer goes through? Because if we run a commercial, or we do, that's a great point. You know, if we run a commercial or we do a social media ad, And it works, and they click and they go to the website.

What does the website look like? What's the messaging? What's the logo look like? What's the brand look like? You know, we gotta get customers.

Ryan Eaton: We gotta get customers. Oh crowd, we got customers. Hey, yeah,

Tripp Douglas: you gotta have a plan. And then if they take the next step, if the website is good and they fill out a quote form or they call, what's that next experience like?

You know, is the person who they talk to consistent with the messaging and the branding that you've been talking the whole time. And a lot of times people put the money into advertising. , but they're not doing the steps two, three, and four, and then the sales don't go up and they say, well, you know, advertising's just a waste of money.

Mm-hmm. , you know, well, aver, the advertising might've worked, but you gotta have the rest of the steps in place.

Ryan Eaton: So looking millions of different ways. Even as you said, you got the tv, the radio type ad, you got the website type side, you get social media. , you got email, marketing, phone calls, a lot of type stuff like that where you can get from a advertising, communications, trying to draw people in.

Each of those has its place. Mm-hmm. , if you, it just had to go kind of those four buckets, you know? What would you say is kind of their, their positive that they bring? If you had to give, Hey, you know, when talking about TV ads, this is what it brings. I get a lot of people don't want it, don't have the money for it, but this is the value that it brings.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. So, I would say TV and radio, that's kind of what we call mass market, where you're, it's a shotgun approach. Yeah. Where you're getting the message out there to a wide audience. Right. The problem with it is that, that it's such a wide audience that there's only a, a small sliver of that audience at any given time who's actually in the market for your product.

Mm-hmm. , but the value is top of mind awareness. Mm-hmm. brand positioning. You know, you can really. Kind of position yourself in people's minds so that even though they're not in the market for your product at the moment when they are, they will have seen that commercial recently in the back of the head and think of you.

So that's the idea behind it. But like, you know, I think most of the people or a lot of the people watching your podcast are probably small businesses. That's right. Smaller agencies that. It's not really realistic. Don't have the budget to do that to, to run, you know, they can't rent the halftime show commercial slot, right?

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Tripp Douglas: So then, you know, on the social media side, you get a lot of bang for your buck there. And that's what's been hugely popular over the past several years. And it's trackable. You can see how many things are, are clicked and that's right. And, but what I tell people though, You're gonna have more success if you come at it from the angle of being informative and answering questions that your customers have, as opposed to just putting ads out there.

You know, I mean like we're all on social media. I mean, what do you do when you see ads? Most of the time you just skip right past it. Right? Understand. And you know that that's kind of the problem with a lot of. , you know, traditional advertising, it's it by nature, by design. It's interruptive. Someone is doing one thing and then you're trying to interrupt what they're doing with an ad.

Selling them something. That's right. It can be effective, but we know, you know, it's more effective to get articles, blog articles. Mm-hmm. , social media posts that are informative, that people can find organically when they're searching for it. The problem they're having, it helps them solve the problem, not just seeing an ad saying how great you are.

We've put a lot of emphasis recently on content generation, content marketing.

Ryan Eaton: Well, that's something too, you know, thinking about it, you know, like we said a second ago, you know, you got the, the nationwide funny commercials and the State Farm funny commercial and the farmers, and the farmers thing. Still we or farmers, you know, it kind of rings in your head.

99% of companies don't have budgets for those type things. So if someone is on, I wouldn't say a shoestring budget, but a very much tighter budget. Mm-hmm. , do you recommend articles and social media and stuff like that? That's a little more cost effective for what they have? And how would you kind of, if you were having to do it for your agency or mm-hmm.

your small business. , what would you do to try to be able to generate the, the content and the advertising and the branding for your

Tripp Douglas: organization? Well, one of the big factors that's gonna determine the answer to that is who they're targeting. That's, and that's a big thing to think about. That's good.

Because yes, people use social media, but it's not great for like business to business usually. Yeah. That's fair. And so we, we look at other channels that might be more appropriate, whether it's LinkedIn or mm-hmm. or, or just Google AdWords, you know? You're trying to get people where they are and we, you know, we haven't had a ton of success marketing, business related products on Facebook and Instagram, you know, sense business to business.

That's all that sense. That's great for consumer type stuff. Our restaurant clients, obviously we do, oh, we do a ton on Instagram and, and Facebook. But for the business and the insurance side, it's, it's just not as effective because people are, you know, they're not in that mindset when they're using Instagram.

They're not thinking, you know, How am I gonna solve my group health insurance problem?

Ryan Eaton: No, that's right. Right. That's exactly right. Yeah, that's, it's a great point. You know, you said the restaurant clients, and I'm thinking there, I think like Hot Donuts now, right? Mm-hmm. would get me instantly. Right? , Shiply, I mean, but with that kind of branding and talking to your clients and trying to get that out there with, from the marketing and branding side, consistency.

Tripp Douglas: Mm-hmm. That is huge.

Ryan Eaton: Yep. I'd love to hear your kind of, your thoughts on that.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. And kind of to circle back to what you mentioned about Yeah, please, shoestring budget, and it kind of goes with this question as well. That's something you can do that's very. Affordable. Mm-hmm. , where whether it's writing blog articles or writing social media posts or writing articles that go on your website, those are things that really don't cost you anything.

Ryan Eaton: Someone who has a website, they got a graphic designer or they have someone to have to pay to do certain things, is there a way for them to be able to set up like a WordPress site or something where they can create the access? Kind of go into that. Spend a minute on that, if you don't mind, kind of how that works.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. There's tons of great platforms out there now that make it very. , easy to have your own site. And it could be, like you're saying, it could be a scenario where the blog site might be a separate site from the company site. Okay. You know, where you're linking to the company site, but you've got like a separate site where you have informational articles.

Right. You know, if you don't have the ability to easily edit your own site and you don't wanna pay a designer to do it, you know, every week that's, you have a new article that's, you can definitely do that. WordPress obviously one of the big standards, but there's wicks and there's a lot of, you know, other platforms that is WordPress owned by Google.

Ryan Eaton: Is that who owns or is it one of the big companies?

Tripp Douglas: WordPress has always been sort of open source, maybe desperate. Okay. There's a, but there, we actually don't develop on WordPress because there's a lot of security concerns. It's very, you know, it's very open source and so there's a lot of open source plugins and things that, themes that, that really create a lot of security holes we have.

Ryan Eaton: That makes sense.

Tripp Douglas: We've had some. Client sites on the, on, you know, in the past that have gotten hacked. And we just sort of, we try to find more secure sites. We actually use a platform a lot called Shopify. Yep. Which was a, a platform that was built for e-commerce, built specifically for selling products online.

but it has grown into just a, a really good, well-rounded platform. It's not free. A lot of people, you know, are drawn to WordPress because it's free. That's right. However, it can be very costly if your site gets hacked, free until it's not. That's right. But Shopify has plans that are like $29 a month and they, you know, has a built-in blog engine and it's really secure.

So that's actually the platform we re, we recommend for, for people. But back to your, your question about consistency, consistency. Yeah. And I think that's what we've seen more often than not with, especially with blogs. Okay. People say, I wanna start a blog, and they put out five articles and then 10 Crickets , and you go back two years later and it says, last blog post 2019, you know?

Yes. And so, you know, I think that, That happens a lot when people are coming at it from the mindset of we wanna put articles out there to sell. Mm-hmm. . So once they stop, they, they put articles that are kind of like their sales pitch. Yep. That's, or working in their sales pitch. Then their sales pitch doesn't really change.

So they kind of run outta things to say, what I would advise is to really. try to, this sounds cliche, but you really gotta get into the mind of your customer. Mm-hmm. , you've gotta look at it from their point of view. Like they don't want to constantly be sold on something. That's right. You know, they are, they are looking for answers.

And so I would recommend trying to find out what are the like, and, and really the best way to answer this question is what are the questions that you're being asked by your customers? What do you hear over and over again that bring value to 'em, basically, right? That you know that you can just. Just be forthright on your website, on your blogs and answer those questions.

And a lot of companies are hesitant to put that kind of information out there cuz they're concerned about, you know, their competition, knowing all of their tactics and all that kind of stuff. But I think that. The current trend right now is that the more information you can put out there and the more helpful and honest it is, the more likely you to build trust with those clients on the front end.

Yeah, I, I recently read a book called They Ask You Answer

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Tripp Douglas: By Marcus Sheridan. Have you heard of it?

Ryan Eaton: Oh yeah, I have.

Tripp Douglas: That's the big focus of that book is, is how to stand out in a crowded digital world by. Answering tough questions. Yeah. Questions that most of the time, you know, you go to most companies websites and you're not gonna see information about price.

You're not gonna see, you know, some of the problems addressed mm-hmm. . But if you actually. , take the opposite approach and try to hit head on some of the, the questions and the pushback that you get, that you're used to having in one-to-one conversations. If you can put that out on your website, you may find that you get a lot more traction that way.

Ryan Eaton: You know, you said something there that makes me think, oh, there's this gas all it's, it's a sales type blog or sales website, whatever. But he'll record himself if he's, he's walking in the morning, he said, I had a sales guy ask me this the other day, and he said he didn't know how to overcome this objection.

So, This is what you say in that situation. Mm-hmm. . And he answered it and it was like a 57 second video and he posted it mm-hmm. . And it was like that engaged me more than 97% of the things I looked at that day. Right. Yeah. And I was like, okay, that's, that's good information. So you're saying something like that, Hey, be consistent, but then also make sure you're answering what your clients are asking you, what they need to hear, the, the problems that they're having.

What can you do to answer those questions? And then get it out there and keep answering questions in a consistent manner over and over through whatever medium.

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. I mean it may be, you know, the, and things that you can update on a yearly basis. Mm-hmm. , like, you know, here's the top dental plans in this market for 2023, then you can do another one in 2024.

Yeah. You know, and where you do ratings and reviews and be honest. I mean, that's the thing. Like people can, the other thing is people can see through it if you're just if you're being salesy. That makes sense. And, but that's a good way to generate traffic to your site. And cheaply.

Ryan Eaton: So getting to where you're posting stuff like this, you're putting this content out there, I think of different things that have been valuable to me that I've received and some, some things that I don't want to receive.

You know, we've even talked about it I think a few weeks ago, but, you know, radio ad or TV commercial, I never feel over and bombarded or threatened by, or like, golly, I wish they could showing that commercial. Mm-hmm. , someone sends me an email every day for a week. in my barracuda in my junk box. Mm-hmm. , I'm, I'm never not communicating with them anymore.

When you're talking about putting stuff out there and being consistent, what are the methods that you would suggest to your average person? Hey, don't send this to someone every single day. Don't put the same content out there twice a week. Don't you know, what's the spacing look like? What's the too much is too much, or, You can't be too much of this kind of, how's that?

What's the boundaries, I guess you would say there for that?

Tripp Douglas: Yeah. Well, what you mentioned at the beginning of that question about radio and tv. Yeah. And spam, right? Those are things that you didn't ask for, you know? That's correct. That and, and you said yes. You don't feel threatened to buy TV and radio.

However, what are most people doing? If they can, they're skipping it. You know? If the ad comes on the radio, they're turning it. If they've got a TiVo, then they can skip the commercials. You know, they're not, yeah. You know? Okay. They might not feel threatened by it, but they're not trying to hear it. They don't wanna hear it.

Yeah. And I think the much more effective angle is to try to create situations. prospective customers ask for information. They go to your website, they like what they see, and then they sign up for your emails. Then they're not likely to unsubscribe when you send them an email. Mm-hmm. . Right? And then when you do send them that email again, try to look at it through the lens of what's helpful to this customer.

Not buy from me, buy from me, buy from me. You know, nobody wants to get an email every week that says Buy from me.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. So what's the etiquette there?

Tripp Douglas: What's that?

Ryan Eaton: I mean, like, so for, I think about it even from. Our side of the house. Let's just say if we were not necessarily mine, but another, if they're trying to sell a Medicare supplement policy or wanting to sell a dental vision policy to customers, how much is too much emailing in your opinion, from an etiquette standpoint, if you're direct to the consumer in that standpoint?

Tripp Douglas: Well, it depends. If they haven't asked for it. Yeah. You know, if they didn't sign up for it and you bought an email list. Yeah. I mean the threshold is very, very low. For how much is too much? Okay. I mean, once a month. Once a month. I wouldn't, I think for me more than once a month if I, you know, that's fair.

After a month, I've probably forgotten about it. And, and it could be reminded again. If it happens, you know, every other week, then I'm probably gonna hit unsubscribe.

Ryan Eaton: I think about Orvis one of my favorite stores for clothes. I just, I, I like the way it is good outdoor stuff, but they send me emails every day.

Mm-hmm. and they, they have gone to my junk box. Right. Yeah. And I even requested that, wanted to know when the sales pop up, but they, they over-committed and . Yeah. It got me to that point, whereas I'm out guys.

Tripp Douglas: Well, that's the thing we had. When we are consumers, we know how bombarded we all are with constant ads.

Oh really? I mean, like so you, and so when it comes to, and yet when? A lot of times when, when it comes to us running our own ads, We forget what it feels like to be a consumer, and then we just say, we gotta bombard them. You know, we gotta and that's not what we mean by consistency. No. That, yes, that's correct.

That's, you wanna say it. That's more persistency, , and you know, I would say consistency is Has to do, going back to the topic of branding, making sure all of your stuff is consistent in your messaging, in your look, and it has a, a high quality it. Yeah. And then it is consistently helpful to your clients and that, and you know, you mentioned the example of the guy and recording a quick off the cuff video, you know, that's a obviously TikTok driven trend of these bite.

You know, videos sort of raw and unedited. That's right. Time will tell if that trend is short. Shortlived Yeah. Shortlived that or That's right. Or if it sticks around, I'm, I guess probably of the old school mentality. Of the importance of, of branding and making sure that all the material that you put out there is proof, quality of excellence.

Quality. It has excellence. It represents your brand well and. . I'm a believer that little things add up. Subconscious things add up to create an impression in our brains. Things that customers may not notice do form an impression in their mind when they think of your company. Mm-hmm. , a lot of people would dismiss it and say, nobody's gonna notice that.

Well, they might not consciously notice it, but you know, if something is not, if you put out an article that is not proofread or you put out an article that doesn't have your branding on it, or That's right. Or you have a website that you know is not, really aesthetically pleasing. Those things add up.

It's like I tell my staff at the coffee house, when I walk through the shop, I'm looking for things, you know, whether it's, you know, some sugar that somebody's spilled on the floor or little cream drops on the countertop. Mm-hmm. , you know, chairs that are not pushed in, that kind of stuff. And it seems like I'm being nitpicking.

I know that those little things add up. I do that. A customer may walk through that shop and they may not consciously remember any of those things, but they might walk out and have the impression that that place is not really clean. Yep. You know, and if you ask them, why do you think it's not clean? I, I don't know.

I just. Just kinda the impression I got. But it's those little things that the little sugar on the floor, a spill over here that add up, that's little hinges swing big doors, right? Rob's statement, he always said.

Ryan Eaton: Yep. So let me turn with you real quick. Let's go to kind of internal, you know, and I, I called this branding on some of the I thoughts I was having when I sent it over to you.

And it, it is, it's more the why. It's more the purpose of the organization. Mm-hmm. , how you kinda get that throughout. I'm thinking in two, you know, we've had it in our business. Well, we've seen 3000 acquisitions over the last three years in the insurance space, right? That is a lot of companies going and merging into bigger companies, and I saw one last year or several bought over a hundred agencies in a year.

You start looking at that, it's almost. One agency every three to four days, . And I think when we brought on, you know, one or two companies a year and how much work it is to be able to get everybody on board, try to bring the culture and get everything together. And so I wanted to kind of structure some of these around the kind of that thought process and who maybe they've never been to the headquarters before.

Mm-hmm. or they've never met the leadership team and how that leadership team, how the internal company can kind of get everybody on the same page. So what have you advised companies in the past? Or consulted them, kind of getting their branding, getting their internal communications all on the same page.

And if you haven't maybe necessarily advised someone outside, have you done that here with us? Because we have offices in 12 locations from Hawaii to Bakersfield, California to Jamaica, different countries doing business internationally. So there's a lot of communications that has to go on there. So what would you recommend to someone in that situation?

Tripp Douglas: Yeah, there's a lot of different methods you could use. Right. I mean, I think the first thing is having a clear mission and a reason, a why. Yep. And maybe we can come back to that. Yeah, we will. Once you have that, then you're talking about the, the challenge of making sure that everybody in the organization shoot.

I mean, like it's tough to have everybody in one building be on the same page about that So true. Let alone multiple locations. So true. And I think that it has to start from the top. Yep. Being clearly and frequently communicated. What is our why, why are we doing this? And where is. Role. Mm-hmm. in this bigger picture.

Yep. And as far as the mediums or methods that you can use, I mean, here at Morgan White we have an internal podcast that is for employees only, and it's something that we instituted a few years ago and made it mandatory for all employees when these come out. You've been doing that six years now. Did you know that?

No, I didn't know that. Six years? Yep. . But you know it came from the top. You had to get buy-in from the top. That's right. And they say it is mandatory for every employee to listen to this whenever it comes out. And now we're doing 'em about once a month. So it's not like it's taking up a lot of time.

That's right. They're 10 to 15 minutes long. But it is an opportunity for everyone in the company. to hear the same thing. No, that's right. And be on the same page about whatever topic that is. And there's no layers to go through. There's no, you know, misquotes or anything. It's straight from the top. And then along those lines, you can also do, I mean, I think that either audio or video's great because you see it and hear it firsthand.

Mm-hmm. . But you can also do this sounds cliche, but company newsletters. But you know, even the company newsletter that we do, we wanna make it about. Highlighting the successes of particular divisions, particular groups that that's right. Especially the ones that are in other locations, so that we can make everyone feel like we're part of the same big picture.

We have an internal dashboard. That was another thing that we instituted. So we made, we created an internal landing page for. , anybody who's inside the company, when they pull up a new browser window, it is going to show this company dashboard. And the dashboard is a place where we have news and announcements.

We have the organizational chart, so it's a directory, but again, that's just one rallying point. It's another, you know, water cooler place where everyone can see the same thing and be talking about the same thing.

Ryan Eaton: My favorite has been the, the podcast, and I would encourage, Everyone here, if you're looking at doing something to be able to get everybody on the same page that once a month, you know, if you try to do it every other week, you run outta content, right?

Tripp Douglas: Mm-hmm.

Ryan Eaton: or you're, you're just, it becomes a full-time right gig. But I love the, the podcast internally because you interview people in different locations and do videos from different things that are going on. It's just a great way to draw people together, know who kind of they're working with.

Tripp Douglas: And you know, I think maybe some people that are hearing this might be intimidated by the word podcast.

That's right. They're hearing that and they're thinking, you know, Google and Spotify and Apple and, and channels and all the, all of the world . And it, that's just kind of a catchall term. That's right. That we use for a prerecorded message that goes out to everybody. And again, with Morgan White's podcast, it is not, it is not on any of the platforms.

It's not, we just call it a podcast. That's right. Because it's prerecorded. We distribute it to all the employees. But so it's not something that, I mean, yes, we have professionals that help us produce it and make it right. Look good. . But if you're a smaller company and you can just record it, you know, on your FaceTime camera, on your computer, that's right.

That's fine. You know, as long as everybody is hearing the same message and it's getting out to all the employees.

Ryan Eaton: I'm glad you said that and back to kind of the consistency thing, because I, that's important too, cuz dudes doing one video every three years. Mm-hmm. . It does not do anything. What does consistency look like on this?

I know you mentioned that we do it once a month. Mm-hmm. just to try to get it continually going out there. What would you suggest on that?

Tripp Douglas: It depends on how much you have going on. You know, I, I think that obviously a company like we could probably be doing it a lot more. I'm sure that we could do it every couple of weeks and, and have something new to say, but you also don't want people.

that's always the challenge. You don't want to become another one of those things that people have to do. Yeah. And so then they start ignoring it, you know, they start, you know, okay, here we go, listen to this. And you know, I'll hit play and put it on mute. You know, like it's, it's something you, you gotta make it space it out enough to where it is unique and relevant.

And so once a month is probably a good sweet spot. So what would you

Ryan Eaton: say. podcast. You kinda mentioned the dashboard, you mentioned some other things along those lines that you can do as a company when you're looking at it. How do you get the people who are outside of the office though to feel, again, that have never been to the headquarters?

Mm-hmm. Cuz we've dealt with this as well too. How do you try to get them to be a part of the team? Obviously you communicate and you kind of get the vision, you get all that. What's some other things you can do to kind of help get everyone feeling like they're one? Yes. And you mentioned the newsletter and it is something where you can see pictures of them and their kids.

Mm-hmm. , I think that's one way,

Tripp Douglas: but what are some other thoughts on that? Well, you know, one thing is to have company wide, and it doesn't have to be company wide, but, but. Meetings where everyone is there at the same time, virtually. Yep. You know, we have that on Friday mornings at Morgan White, where we have a broadcast that goes out to every location and so they can join in.

And again, it's just an opportunity for everyone to, to be virtually in the same place at the same time here in the same thing. That's right. And I think that, that, you know, now technology makes that a lot easier where we can, that's what happens in so many c. Again, even in the same building, everyone gets siloed.

They get in their own sandbox and they've got their head down and they've, it's easy. They're focused on their goals and they're not even aware of what's happening three cubicles over and what their goals are. That's right. And how either one of us fits into the big picture. And so, I mean, the same problems, you know, within one building as it is within 12 buildings and trying to find as many opportunities as possible to.

again. Leadership in front of people, in front of everyone. Clearly communicating, honestly. Communicating, yeah, where we are, what setbacks we've had. You know that that's what gives people ownership of when they feel like that they are part of. The decision making process. That's right. They're part, they have, that's what helps them take ownership.

And they, it's not just that leadership is, is some distant, far off place that they're making decisions they don't understand and they don't mm-hmm. , you know, they don't hear the why behind it. And That's right. It's just something that came down from corporate, you know, and, and they don't really understand it.

He mentioned the

Ryan Eaton: why again. I'm, I'm, I got two more questions for you and then we gotta wrap it up. But before I get to kinda the last one, building around the why, I wanted to ask you, you know, a lot of people are looking at building, building their teams. Right now. Everyone's trying to find, I had a guy in here yesterday who owns multiple hotels, and one of the things he told me was, he said two years ago or three years ago, he said, I had 12 people cleaning the rooms every single morning.

They clean 14 beds a day, and it's one of those things it, it was great. He said, now I got three people showing up , he said, and I'm trying to find quality people who will buy onto our company. Vision of what we're trying to do, provide excellent service in what we're doing. And he said he is having to go out out of the country, right?

He has go to Guatemala, Panama, different ones and try to get these programs. It take 18 months to 24 months to get anyone over here, but he's just gotta get something started. Yeah. So my question along those lines is how can companies show their brand, who they are, what their purpose is, their why, when their.

interviewing these people and try to get them, because people want to go work somewhere where mm-hmm. , they're doing something meaningful. Right. Right. I think they're wanting to go somewhere where there's a purpose, where there's a promise for a better tomorrow, where they're feel like they're making society better as a whole.

Right. What are things that you can do there in that interview process and find those people to draw them in? Is there anything you've seen from not just our side, but mm-hmm. , other people you've worked

Tripp Douglas: with? It's funny you, you mentioned that story about the hotels. We talked to clients in, obviously the retail business, the restaurant business, the insurance business equipment manufacturers.

It is, is a weird time These past couple years. Everybody go, everybody has a similar story. You know, everybody shorthanded and they're struggling to find people. They have somebody that was, that was a key person and they. Because someone offered them a little more money or the ability to work from home and, and they're gone.

And you know, they have people that we have hear stories every week if we had interviews scheduled and somebody just didn't even show up for the interview. I mean, it's just, it's such a struggle, . And and again, there's not a silver bullet. I mean, you know, there's a lot of ways to get your name out there, but I think the first thing that has worked really well for Morgan White is.

Taking care of the employees that you have currently? Yeah. That if they understand the why and they feel appreciated both monetarily and personally. That's right. They become your best recruiters. That's, I mean, we've had the most success hiring by hundred percent. Hundred percent from people that talk to their friends and family, and they come to Morgan White and say, I hear this is a good place to work, you know?

Yep. And so there's no advertising channel that we could put a message out there that would make someone. You know, have that impression. That's right. You know, when they hear, we're 60

Ryan Eaton: family members now, right. Working together that it's sisters, daughters, sons, mothers, et cetera.

Tripp Douglas: Here. The thing, just cuz of what you're saying, you're right.

Yep. So, I mean that's step one is take care of the people that you do have and make them feel appreciated and make sure that they understand where they fit into a bigger picture. And then, you know, from there, I mean obviously there's LinkedIn and there's ZipRecruiter and there's places where you can get That's right.

You know. The name out there for job openings, but, and then in the interview process, I think it's important, and this is where it all kind of ties back in with branding. I mean, like, you have to think through every part of it. Who we are, who are we trying to serve, what bigger purpose is, is our goal. And then you can communicate that in a.

in an interview. That's right. And there will be people that it's a good fit for that mission and people that it doesn't resonate with them. No, that's right. And that's okay. We don't wanna hire them, you know, if it, if it doesn't resonate with them, it can't just, I mean, especially in this day, just cause you show up doesn't mean it's a fit and it can't just be about money.

That's right. You know that if your mission is to make more money, , then you are not gonna have a very loyal staff. That's right. Because they're gonna leave as soon as they find more money elsewhere. That's right. You know, it's just, it's tough to get buy-in when, when your mission is for everybody to just make more money.

That's right. I think it has to, you have to have a bigger why. It does.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. I a passion for something. Yeah. Right. And uh, cuz if you're waking up every day going somewhere just for a paycheck,

Tripp Douglas: you're gonna be miserable. And then again, once you have that, why like it. at Morgan White. We are, we try to bring that focus to employees to continually remind employees, you know, because we know the daily grind can get, you know, monotonous.

We know you can easily lose sight of what our bigger purpose is. So we, we continually remind them of what we're working for, whether it's helping people get dental care or helping people get their insurance, like at the design studio. Because we designed the forms for Morgan White. That was something I did a couple years ago.

Because designing insurance forms is not what anybody goes to graphic design school for. Right. No one says, I dream of designing an insurance form. Right, right. Last name on the box this way. Yeah. But what I did a couple years ago was I went to our claims department. I got some real world. Stories. Mm-hmm.

of claims that we had paid for Anonymous, of course. No HIPAA information. No, no hipaa. But I, I sat down with my designers and I at the end of the year and I said, here's some examples of real world individuals who filled out the form that you designed and. Were able to get treatment for cancer, they were able, this person was in a car accident.

Mm-hmm. And they were in a life threatening situation and they got taken care of and our insurance paid for it. And it all started with them filling out the form that you designed. You know, that was a light bulb moment, I think for some of them to understand. Yes, it's a form and it feels, it feels tedious doing something important, but it is a part of a bigger picture that is more important.

And it's not just about making money. That's exactly right. So,

Ryan Eaton: on the why. Last question. Kind of the same type thing. You hit why it's important and why is the why is important, right? Mm-hmm. , how can leaders, cuz this is a leadership podcast, how can leaders get that? Why out? How can they make sure it's ingrained in the culture?

You know, you, you see different people like Dave Ramsey and some of these organizations that really are just truly mission focused. Stuff's all over their walls everywhere, you know? And it's really cool. Obviously everyone can't go in and just paint stuff all over the walls. Yes. And get the sticker art, blah, blah, blah. How do you ingrain that as a leader in your culture?

Tripp Douglas: Well, I think step one Yep. Is making. That you as a leader have a clear idea and understanding of what your mission is. Right. A lot of times people start a business and they have a vision and a dream, and they get lost in the weeds along the way as well.

And so, I mean, that's step one is making sure that. It's clear within your heart what what you're calling is and what we're trying to do and how we're gonna make the world a better place. Because that's the thing, if you set out to solve people's problems and make the world a better place, the money will follow.

That's right. But if you set out to make money, yeah. Your chances success are 50 50. So that's step one to make sure you have a clear idea of it. And then the second step is just being consistent. Communicating that to people. I mean, like you have, there's turnover in every business and so there's people, you may have been saying it for years, but you've got somebody who's been here for six months and so they haven't heard you say it.

Yep. And so they need to hear it again and again and again. And it may feel repetitive, but, and it may change along the way. Yeah. You know, there may be course corrections and say, well, you know, our focus started out as this 10 years ago. We. You know, a new opportunity in the market and we're helping people here.

And so, you know, the continually updating it, revising it but I just think that it's, like we talked about, there's so many different mediums for doing it, but it's, the key is at the top. Having the clear mission, the clear vision, understanding it, understanding it, and then making it a priority to communicate it.

Don't just assume consistently, don't just assume that people know, I mean, that that is what I see a lot of times is that they say it one time or they have a mission statement on their website, or they have mm-hmm. , you know, they say it in the, in the onboarding process. Yeah. You know, like, this is our mission welcome to the company.

And then they don't say it again. And they just assume that, because what we have to continually be reminded of is that, This may be your vision and what's on your heart, but it's not necessarily what their vision is. That's right. In order to buy in, they have to be, they have to continually know what it is and, and continually remind them, and I think that maybe some leaders are.

they, they're self-conscious about not wanting to continually repeat that or, yeah. Or continually talk about what their vision is. But I think that that's the only way to give people a sense of the bigger picture and, and where they fit into it.

Ryan Eaton: No, I love it. Know your purpose. Repeat it, communicate it consistently, over and over again.

Tripp Douglas: And back to the branding, back to the very first question that's, that's branding your why, right. You know, also make sure that it's, that's a consistency thing, is that you're branding your purpose. It's the same, that's the thing. It's the same internal and external, you know, marketing and branding is not, , a mask that you put on to fool the public.

No, and that's what it, that's what a lot of companies think it is. You know, a lot of companies think that's fair. We got a bunch of mercenaries in-house that are all out here just to make money, but we're gonna go to our graphic designer and say, Hey, make us look like we care. Yeah. You know, like, yeah.

Yeah. That doesn't work very well. It might work a little bit, but it doesn't work for very long. Because once the people get to step two and three and four, like we talk about, that's, that's when they drop off. They see. They're like, they, they don't care. No, that's right. You know, having that message, that clarity.

It's the same internal external that helps you, that helps you write the copy that goes on your website, that helps you write the copy that goes on the blog. That helps you when you are interacting with the customer. You know, there's, there's a clarity of message and purpose That's right. And that consistency so that every step in the process from the time that somebody sees your blog post or social media ad.

Or goes to your website, sees your logo and your website, then they talk to somebody, then they make the sale. Then they are a customer and they call customer service. Every step in that process is consistent.

Ryan Eaton: They feel good about it. No, I love that Tripp. Thank you so much for being on show today.

Tripp Douglas: It's been fun.

Ryan Eaton: Today's episode again on branding and internal communications. We thank you for joining in for another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast, and remember, a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now. Thank you very much.

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