Mel Carson Technology for Marketing
JONATHAN MACDONALS [00:00:14] Hi there. My name is Jonathan.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:15] And I’m Nayoka Oware.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:00:17] Welcome to Disruptive Live we’re at Technology for Marketing at Kensington Olympia. A wonderful rainy day in London. But none the less it’s okay we’re smiling inside the studio here. We’re joined by Mel Carson, who is the founder and chief executive of the company, which I think he’s brilliantly titled Delightful Communications. Mel, thanks for coming. Good to see you.
MEL CARSON [00:00:38] Coming all the way from Seattle.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:00:39] Seattle, why would you? I mean, that’s a that’s a journey, that’s a journey.
MEL CARSON [00:00:42] I brought the rain with me.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:00:43] This is all you, right interview over. So what what brings you here?
MEL CARSON [00:00:50] So I’ve been in Seattle for about eight years. I went over there with Microsoft and then left, then started my own company. Delightful. Recently opened up Delightful Communications Limited over here. So we’re like straddling the Atlantic. And I was brought over here because in a couple of hours I’ll be doing one of the keynote speeches for Technology for Marketing talking about personal branding.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:01:18] Personal branding. And I remember the good old days of personal branding 10, 15 years ago, remember. I think Brian Solis started sort of a David Armano spoke about brand you all this kind of stuff. I’m just so pleased that there are people who are actually talking about humans, and employee advocacy and and who somebody is in a world of artificial intelligence and robotics and machine learning. Is this something that you’ve always been inspired by and driven by the human aspect?
MEL CARSON [00:01:49] When I was at Microsoft. I finangled my way in to becoming one of their evangelists for Microsoft advertising. So back then it was ad center. Now it’s Microsoft advertising. And it was really about putting people at the heart of all the marketing that we were doing. So I get things like this in Cannes. Advertising Week in New York, interviewing people, and it was all about just putting people at the heart of it. But then I suddenly realized after I got laid off from Microsoft. And I talked about the fact that I’ve been laid off and that I was looking for a new job. There was a whole bunch of people laid off at the time and this is the story kind of all my social media went crazy with all these people, you know, all these well-wishers, you know, you’ll do great. You know, offering me jobs and saying, you know. I really think that you should try and help reverse engineer what you did with your brand and help other people. So delightful was born. We do regular corporate work, but we’ve helped hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people through a book. I’ve got a book Introduction to Personal Branding on Amazon, but we also do workshops and individual work with executives and companies helping them tell their story, but also helping them uncover their professional code. So it’s not just about making them look pretty on Twitter and LinkedIn and things like that. We delve a lot deeper into their into careers into their professional purpose. What makes them tick? Why is it that they do what they do? And then we help them write really compelling summaries. And have their whole footprint be so much more tangible and with more depth than what you know a regular PR agency might do, having them comment on some good PR.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:48] Wonderful, as you mentioned earlier, you’re one of the keynote speakers at this amazing event, can you tell us some points you’ll be touching on with regards to the personal branding.
MEL CARSON [00:03:56] Sure.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:03:57] Or you could do the whole keynote speech now as a world exclusive.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:04:01] And then just go home if you please.
MEL CARSON [00:04:01] I’ll keep my powder dry for that one. So when I’m getting people four or five actionable takeaways. So one one of the things right at the start of the keynote is actually getting people to Google or Bing or LinkedIn the person next to them and then introduce that person as if they were them it normally gets people a little bit like oh no.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:04:26] I like that is that your ice breaker.
MEL CARSON [00:04:27] A little bit of an ice breaker. And then we go through, you know, getting people to think about, you know, their story. Where is it that they came from what has been their kind of training and background. Where’s the thread that gets them to where they are right now and they started to think about their professional purpose, so beyond needing a paycheque, beyond putting the kids through school, beyond paying off the student loans, whatever it is that you have a job for, what excites them, what gets them out of bed? What makes them passionate about what they do and then that gives them a purpose. And then once you package that all up. People then end up feeling, you know, as I’ve said, that they’re planning better their career because they’re thinking. Actually, I fell into this online advertising thing because my friend’s mate got me in here. But now if I’m actually more purposeful about my career and about the connections I make in person at events like this and online and through social media, maybe I can actually start having a goal of really where I want to go and start planning accordingly and get there a lot quicker. We have a we have an acronym AURA, which if you’re looking to increase the halo effect of your wisdom and your expertise AURA stands for authentic, useful, relevant and actionable, so everything that we’re putting out there and the way that we’re interacting with people online and in person. People need a takeaway because the more time someone’s going to spend with you and your personal brand and what you have to offer, maybe the less time that they can spend with somebody else.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:06:11] Do you find that there’s any resistance to what you’re doing in the industry because I’ve been around this world for several decades and there’s things that are human purpose type stuff. Sometimes you run in to, I mean, I’ve written a book called Powered By Change and the first quarter is about purpose. And even that the first questions I get asked about is, you know, how important is this whole purpose thing? Do you end up running into any resistance about this touchy feely stuff?
MEL CARSON [00:06:43] No. Well, a little bit a little bit.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:06:46] Maybe it’s just me.
MEL CARSON [00:06:47] A little bit from the old days, maybe five, five years ago, people were like, I don’t want my team to have great personal brands because otherwise they’re just going to have a really good LinkedIn profile and then someone’s gonna hire them. I’m like, ah shouldn’t you be thinking about creating a culture?
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:05] Yeah.
MEL CARSON [00:07:06] And the company and paying your people well that they don’t want to leave. The other thing is there’s a lot of personality. The extrovert personalities we meet. They come to me, they just say, look, I want to be Forbes under 40, 40 under 40. I don’t need any of that other stuff. We show them the door. I can’t help you have some award or moniker to your name. If you’re not willing to put the work in and actually have a solid foundation, then you get the introverts who are like I don’t know I’m not really sure. You know, I don’t want to be seen to be showing off all this kind of stuff.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:07:43] That’s like you right introverts, especially on Instagram. So you’re really low key. She’s not singing. She’s not singing into the camera at all.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:50] I sing sometimes just on the Insta story, because it disappears 24 hours later.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:07:53] Total introvert, anyway carry on. So we’re talking about her.
MEL CARSON [00:07:55] But what happens with the introvert is that they they’ll put something out there and go lah lah lah lah lah and put something out there. And it’s genuine. And it’s useful and it’s relevant and it’s actionable. And then they see the response. So we work with a lot of corporate vice presidents. These are people that run 10 billion, 30 billion dollar businesses portfolios. And they’re like publish on an article about, you know, things that they’ve learned in the last five years of their particular role. And then they see the reaction to it. From all over the world. And they’re suddenly like ah I can reach more people with my wisdom and experience, not just externally but external clients and companies and whatever, but internally as well. Within that then it ties into the whole employer branding side of thing.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:50] I have to ask.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:52] Please do go ahead.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:52] During your time at Microsoft?
MEL CARSON [00:08:54] Yes.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:55] Did you ever look at Steve Ballmer and think this guy needs a personal branding work over.
MEL CARSON [00:09:07] I interviewed Steve Ballmer in Cannes and it was it was a fun time, I only had about 90 seconds with him.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:09:12] Was it interesting?
MEL CARSON [00:09:12] It was it was good. He certainly is a character. But I think, you know.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:09:19] Would you have been able to help him muck-up less.
MEL CARSON [00:09:22] No he would have.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:09:24] Still driven the value down by 40 percent over 10 years.
MEL CARSON [00:09:27] He would have. He was his own person and he would have just told me to sod off. So what I love about, you know, a lot of my friends who’ve been at Microsoft since then after Satya came there was a guy called Steve Clayton, who is the chief storyteller. He’s actually from Liverpool, was over here. He’s done an amazing job turning them around. And another friend of mine, Rob Wolf, used to run all the social media, but, you know, it’s very much about putting people at the heart of it. And I know that that sounds like everybody. As part of an integrated plan. It makes sense. I mean, one of our principles at Delightful is people not just pixels because people can know what they look at the bottom line or the number and the views. And this that and the other. But we also we always say when we send out reports, and what. What’s the anecdote? What’s the anecdote? How did somebody. I remember, where was I, Las Vegas for CES and we doorstepped Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP. And we’re interviewing him and we interviewed him about mobile, and it was mobile, as they say in America. And this was, I think, about 2011 or 2010. We interviewed him we put it up on YouTube and it got thousands and thousands of views. Because I actually asked him some hard questions about the future of digital, where mobile was going, all this kind of stuff. What people were doing was companies and sales people were using that video to pitch mobile because I’d put them under but I had some marketing managers come to me and say, well, why didn’t you get Sir Martin Sorrell to say Microsoft is the best company in the world.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:13] Yeah good luck with that.
MEL CARSON [00:11:15] Because he’s going to tell me to sod off. But it’s got Microsoft branding all over it.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:21] So it Is branding.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:11:22] That was a very diplomatic answer and I like that.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:24] Sadly we’ve run out of time. But.
MEL CARSON [00:11:26] I loved this
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:28] It’s been really great here listening to your stories.
MEL CARSON [00:11:29] I need to buy your book.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:31] Please do. And Powered By Change dot come. No kidding. So, thank you very much for joining us. It’s the hashtag Disruptive Live hashtag Technology for Marketing. I’ve been Jonathan McDonald.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:11:40] And I’ve been Nayoka Oware.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:11:42] He’s been Mel Carson. And thank you very much. We’ll see you next time. Thank you.