March 22, 2022

247 :: How to Build an Authentic Brand Story with Heather Bowman of Superior Plastic

247 :: How to Build an Authentic Brand Story with Heather Bowman of Superior Plastic

In episode 247, Bradley is joined by Heather Bowman, Director of Marketing at Superior Plastic and Key-Link Fencing and Railing.  We discuss how to build trust at an early stage of a marketing relationship.  Heather explains how consistent...

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In episode 247, Bradley is joined by Heather Bowman, Director of Marketing at Superior Plastic and Key-Link Fencing and Railing.  We discuss how to build trust at an early stage of a marketing relationship.  Heather explains how consistent experiences will help you build a brand story with your customers.  Heather also shares the importance of that brand story and the items you need to consider when formulating it.

This episode is brought to you by Capital One Trade Credit




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Heather Bowman 00:00

Trust is broken when a salesperson shows up, and he's or she is selling a high end brand, and they're wearing ripped jeans and a T shirt. Trust is broken when someone goes to the website and again, it's a high end brand and the website looks as if it was created in 1999. So in order for trust to be activated, those experienced need to be consistent from the get go.


Put that coffee down. I'm not here to waste your time. Okay, I certainly hope you're not here to waste mine. So I'm gonna keep this short. Alan, we're both in sales. Let me tell you why. I suck as a sales. most valuable commodity. I know of this information. Wouldn't you agree? Coffee's for closers only.


Bradley Hartmann 00:51

Well, hello there friends. Welcome back to the behind your back podcast with me Bradley Hartman, founder and CEO of Behind Your Back Sales Company, where it's our mission to help you sell more faster at higher margins, and have more fun doing it. As for this podcast, we're talking about leadership, personal productivity, time management, and the craft of selling. And in this episode marketing in the construction industry. This episode is brought to you by our friends at Capital One Trade Credit if you want to grow sales, increase cash flow while decreasing risk and leverage a powerful platform to make it easier for your customers to buy from you. You my friend might be interested in Capital One Trade Credit, Google Capital and Trade Credit as you might assume. All right, I'm excited to bring to you today my conversation with Heather Bowman of Superior Plastic Products and Key Link Fencing and Railing. Now Heather has been guiding the marketing efforts at Superior Plastic Products and Key Link Fencing and Railing for about two and a half years now. Before that she managed her own marketing consultancy. And Heather began her career as a marketing manager with Digitas in Boston, a large scale agency working with brands all around the world. Now originally, I met up with Heather Bowman at the LBM strategies conference in Boston in September of last year. And I very candidly shared with her a little bit of my my fanboy nature with what they've done at Superior Plastics and Key Link around their brand refresh. I know of no better example, over the past several years in our industry, of a company that recognized the need for a brand refresh. And then committed to doing that, and then came out on the end with such stellar results. And I have a bit of OCD when it comes to typography, and branding, and logo and overall design. And I think it's such a need in our industry, there's such an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves by updating some of their look and feel and how they portray themselves consistently to the market. And this is such a great example. So I shared with Heather my perspective on her branding. And we started talking, and I realized that was just the tip of the iceberg. Heather had so many more insights and experiences and stories to tell about brand management, which I think is a better term than marketing. That's something that we talked about here. So it made it real easy for me to say I need to reconnect with you, and have you on the show. And we're able to do that when my travels took me through the great state of Pennsylvania, January in Pennsylvania. That's where you want to be if you haven't done that recently, let me tell ya, that's a destination spot under underrated. But anyway, I was there as I was passing through, I got to meet with Heather directly and we talked about this. And that is what you are going to hear today. And my friends, you are going to enjoy this I promise you, there are several insights that you're going to be able to take back to your team to help improve your overall marketing, dare I say, brand management and think differently about this because of this conversation. That's my commitment to you, my friends. That's what you're in for. Please enjoy my conversation with Miss Heather Bowman, Director of Marketing at Superior Plastic Products and Key Link, Fencing and Railing. I know it's a lot of words in a row for one individual. But she my friends is worth it. As always. Thank you for listening. Miss Heather Bowman, welcome to the show.


Heather Bowman 04:41

Thank you Welcome to Pennsylvania.


Bradley Hartmann 04:43

It's wonderful to be here. You have you have a long drive ahead. So we're gonna we're gonna tighten this episode up. We're only going to go like two hours, maybe two and a half fine. All right. Now I'm really excited to talk to you and we talked at one of our last conference when we were together in Boston. I was very impressed. and wanting to talk to you about marketing because I'm trying to do a much better job of leading our team with marketing. So we're gonna dive into a whole bunch of different things, but we're gonna start off with our first four. Do you remember the first music album you either purchased or received?


Heather Bowman 05:15

Yes. The first music album I purchased with my own hard earned money was nirvana. Smells Like Teen Spirit it's pretty legendary. Yes. My daughter is a sweatshirt now that she says the Nirvana. And it makes me smile every time she wears it


Bradley Hartmann 05:42

has to make you proud. You've done well. Yeah. What about the first concert you attended?


Heather Bowman 05:48

Well, I can't remember the first concert I attended. But the one that sticks out in my mind as being really memorable is my boyfriend who's done my husband and I went to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill back when they weren't even married. They were just little rumors that they were dating so it's kind of fun to watch them. Do duets together live on stage.



They're good. Do you remember the


Heather Bowman 06:07

venue? Hershey Park Arena?


Bradley Hartmann 06:10

Got it? Does it still exist? Now?


Heather Bowman 06:12

It does. Yes. Your summer concert series so much fun. hopeful we can go this year. It would be awesome to see a concert again. Yeah, can you imagine? Remember your first job? Yes. I was a hostess at a local ice cream shop. Was it called? craters? Excuse me is called craters.



How do you spell it?


Heather Bowman 06:33

Krei de ers writers? Yes. KS craters Creamery are no longer exists. There's a sheets there now so Okay.



Very good. And your first car


Heather Bowman 06:47

was a 1986 Maybe Honda Prelude. Oh, and I didn't buy it new. It was very old when I turned 16 You're doing the math. I was way too slow. did was it. So it's a two door. Yes. sunroof and it had a cassette player, which was super cool.



Yeah, big time. color. Red. Very good.


Heather Bowman 07:15

Okay. And it was manual transmission. Is that what you call it? So I had to learn how to drive stick which is really interesting. So but you survived glad they're not. Most cars don't read your transmissions anymore.


Bradley Hartmann 07:27

I started on a stick and I knew enough to be very, very afraid of. That's all I remember was like certain parts of town. I couldn't go. Now I figured out. Alright, so we're gonna jump in here. I'm interested to just learn about what are some of the lessons you learned? I know you worked at an agency in Boston? Uh huh. Coming out of school. Anderson University. Yes. The fighting bears. I'm in what was it? The Ravens? The Ravens? I was gonna go locusts fighting. So you graduate from Anderson Yahtzee. You work in an agency in Boston? Yes. And before we flipped the mics on, you mentioned, there are some principles or this things that you have learned when you were there that you apply every day now? What are like some of those foundational first principles that that come to mind immediately?


Heather Bowman 08:17

That's a great question. One, we were very data driven. It was a digital marketing agency. And prior to that, I worked at an agency that worked with nonprofits, which were very data driven also. So the campaigns that we created were measurable, to the extent that they could be, they showed ROI. So that training has just been a part of me ever since. I also learned how to build relationships with our clients, how to sell how to sell in that service arena, and just how to have processes that drive structure in the midst of chaos. And working in agency is hard. I worked there long hours, and but it was it was good training for future careers.


Bradley Hartmann 09:03

It just occurred to me here Do you remember show my wife and I loved it? I think there's only one season it was called the pitch. This is I'm gonna date myself here. This is probably like maybe 2011 2012, maybe 2013. And it was all different agencies, kind of documentary, compressed timelines competing to not only come up with the creative, but sell the vision. Yes. And I love marketing. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that looked amazing. And we loved it. And we did one season. Do you have any to talk to


Heather Bowman 09:36

you about if you vaguely but I didn't. I don't think I watched it.


Bradley Hartmann 09:40

To find that. Yeah, well, anyway, that's what I'm thinking about. Because I remember, obviously is a digital marketing agency or that most frequently was but obviously there was a whole ton of selling going on. I might be jumping ahead so you can take this anywhere you want. But obviously I love working with sales professionals that we spend most of our Time on but a lot of times, we kind of look at the marketing. And I will say, hey, you know, I try to challenge people to think a little bit differently on marketing and that sales is very different than finance. We understand that. But sometimes when I say, well, finance and marketing are as different as sales and marketing, and oftentimes, I can see people's gears turning and well, they're kind of the same, like, they're really different. And I always come back to Peter Drucker's comment that the two things any really good organization does is marketing, and innovation. And if you do those things, right, selling becomes really easy. In the terms of what you learned at the agency selling, how is that different than the way that you leave for marketing, working with sales professionals that superior plastics and killing,


Heather Bowman 10:47

I think the biggest difference is a distribution channel and just selling to multiple levels of customers. When we sold it was to face to face. Yeah, one customer. So that adds some complexity to it for sure. But in terms of building relationship, earning trust, starting conversations, not trying to sell on price, all of those things were part of what the process that we took. Now, when I worked there, I was a manager level I wasn't, you know, a VP or a director level, but it was something that I just sat and listened to. And sometimes you learn a lot just by listening


Bradley Hartmann 11:24

from someone who runs his mouth way too much. Yeah, I completely agree. And that's


Heather Bowman 11:28

my goal, actually, for this year is I'm trying to be a better active listener. I'm not sure I've accomplished that yet. So I also talked too much here. So I'm with you there.


Bradley Hartmann 11:38

That's a wonderful goal. And actually, I will say one of the things in addition to speaking to insightful people like you, this is really forced me to be in the moment, as opposed to thinking, Hey, I've got my list of questions here. It's kind of a crappy interview. If we just, we we continually take hard right and hard left turns, although I did just come up with some of the the show the pitch that we didn't talk about. Maybe that was an example. But nonetheless, I want to sit on that just for a minute. Because actually what we're going to be talking about tomorrow, we have some sales training. I'm leading tomorrow, and a lot of this is how do you listen right off the bat? How do you ask intelligent questions? How do you build trust early, as you think about that, and maybe coaching the people that work with you, or for you are there any kind of fundamentals that you really want them to focus on to try to really listen and build trust out of the gates,


Heather Bowman 12:29

for me, a lot of building trust in marketing is having consistent experiences. And we can talk about like a brand story and what that means. But when you seek to earn someone's trust, you have to be consistent, and listen as a part of that. But you also want to represent the company that you work for in a way that represents the brand that you're trying to sell. So trust is broken when a salesperson shows up. And he's or she is selling a high end brand. And they're wearing ripped jeans and a T shirt. Trust is broken when someone goes to the website. And again, it's a high end brand. And the website looks as if it was created in 1999. So in order for trust to be activated, those experience does need to be consistent from the get go. And then listening, at least for me is the hardest part because you want to talk so much about who you are. But my boss, our VP of sales is always saying, you know, you have to listen and then ask questions. It's not about you, it's about the customer. Right?


Bradley Hartmann 13:37

Well, it's interesting to hear you talk about breaking trust in the way where my mind immediately goes to this lack of consistency between what you and I talked about. And then like, oh, let's go follow up on this and online or offline. There are things that are not consistent. I think when you frame it as breaking trust, to me, it feels totally different. Cuz I'm like, I never want to break trust. However, I am aware that in the past, we've created some content or credit this that was maybe a little bit inconsistent. But I think when you frame it that way, probably has a much larger impact. Have ever thought of it that way.


Heather Bowman 14:16

Yes, and nobody's perfect. And it's never it's always a continuous process, which can feel exhausting. I mean, I'm sure if you go to any of our key link or superior plastic product sites, you would be able to say, oh, you know, Heather's talking about trust, and look, she doesn't have the right thing here, whatever. We're always always working on it. And it's it's never ending but it's something to strive for. And you have to get at least to 90% consistency or something. I mean, just like an Otis Right, right. From our


Bradley Hartmann 14:47

good analogy. Yeah. Because I think at a certain point, people will start looking for things they will start saying, Oh, no, that's two things. And now all of a sudden, you're triggering You know, some more observations that were, there may be actively a seeking it out or B doesn't make sense to me. It's because something doesn't feel right. And then they're going to leave. Right? You mentioned brand's story. And I had asked, maybe just give a little context, you ran your own business for over a decade, maybe give a little context, um, how you kind of really intentionally structured your life to get really everything you wanted out of from that time period?


Heather Bowman 15:27

Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, when my husband and I moved back to LA, we moved into Lititz, Pennsylvania, we moved from Boston, we moved during the great recession. And there was a lot of companies who still needed to do marketing. Certainly, valued marketing had a strong brand, but someone in their company was doing it grudgingly or wasn't an expert, they didn't need somebody full time, they needed somebody to come alongside of them and support their brand and do a lot of the tactical work. But they they didn't want anyone full time. So that's where I came alongside those companies. It was such a pleasure and an honor to work with those small, medium sized businesses in our region. Because there's so so many smart people, and so many hard working people. And I always will forever believe that small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our company. And it was really a highlight for me to be able to work alongside those companies. And so in order for me to navigate that space, I took what I learned working in agency, and I also took what I learned growing up in a family business and kind of merge those two. And I I tried to listen as best as I can, and really be realistic about what their needs were. I mean, if they're a small business, I'm not going to go in and pitch like, hey, you need to redo your whole brand, you need a new logo, like let's take baby steps towards that. And that's even what we're doing here at killing conspiracy. There's a lot of work that we have to do every day in marketing, but we're taking baby steps, we're laying the foundation, because our goal isn't to create this company that has explosive sales for six months, and then fizzles off to nothing. Our goal is to create a legacy company that will be around for generations. And in order to do that, you have to be intentional, you have to be focused, and you have to show up every day, and do your best as a lot. I mean, that's a lot of work. But that's what we try to do every morning.


Bradley Hartmann 17:20

Yeah. And I asked you like, what were some of the first things so you you come into superior? And Keeling, like, what were some of the first things you looked at? And you said, Well, I'm not gonna put words in your mouth, but you kind of came to there's a lot of things that were really going right. But when we really want to emphasize was the brand story? Yes, I think these two words together, they're very common. Put them together, it seems like something very intuitive. However, I just know, with my own companies and trying to get consistency and tell a consistent brand story is something we have not always done very successfully. How would you define brand story and maybe go into that a little bit on kind of your journey coming in from the outside? Yeah, asking some questions and getting traction.


Heather Bowman 18:07

Yes. So to your point, there was a lot of things going really well, when I entered the marketing team. Our team was incredibly talented. They were working well together, which I feel so fortunate to have a team that just got along. They were smart, smart people. And we also had a product that was high quality, so it's easier to market something. Sure, yes. So for us what was really missing, there's a lot of tactical elements that were solid. But what was really missing was a brand story that pulled together what our purpose was a company or leadership team had defined that and we knew that was to improve people's lives, our values and our culture, we had those defined as well. But they needed to be infused into the brands so that we could actually be who we said we were going to be. And we needed that to be infused in a way that made sense. You know, when you sell railing and fancy, it's like, oh, well, that's nice. It could be a commodity. But if you think about how much that matters to somebody's home, it matters because you have a family gathered in an outdoor living space and you want it to be safe and secure, especially if you're on the second floor on a roof deck. In fact, we went I tell this story on a plant tours we were on a homearama tour in Cincinnati, and the homes are high, not wide. And we were fortunate enough to work with a builder and we had our Keeling product, our Cable Railing product on to one or two of the homes I forget definitely too. And we went into all the homes and what we noticed was with the exception of our products, of course that on some of the homes they had the most beautiful windows, the highest quality crown molding, incredible flooring, I mean just fantastic homes. But when you went out into the outdoor living space, second floor again, roof deck, there were lower quality products on the outdoor railing system, sometimes the decking systems. And that was evident when you when you touched it, or you leaned against it, it was a little unstable. Yeah. And it didn't match the quality of the Interior, the home. So what you'll have is, you know, 510 years, the outdoor living spaces isn't going to last as long, the quality isn't going to be there. And there's also the potential that it was a, you know, somewhat unsafe, I'm sure it was fine. But those were all the things that we kind of noticed. And then what we took away from that, as we needed to do a better job as a manufacturer, in educating down the channel, why it's important to be co compliant, why a higher quality product matters, not just to the homeowner, but to the contractor to so we we really had that focus, leaving that home that homearama just working to do better at that go into the next year.


Bradley Hartmann 20:57

Yeah, it would seem to me to be a challenge. And you kind of referred to it earlier, when you're working for an agency. I'm looking at you, Heather, I'm selling to you and I can think about your needs and your fears and your pain and where you live and your goals and all that in the space you're in now. Right? Where Who Who are your customer? Well, you probably


Heather Bowman 21:21

got we got a bunch


Bradley Hartmann 21:22

of you. Right? And how hard is that? Because I can think about some of the companies we're working with now where this is kind of a part of their journeys. We're trying to draw the kind of the brand's story a little bit, we're talking about the values, we're talking about how their behaviors come to that, what are their, their messaging pillars? And sometimes they really struggled because they're saying, well, it's different to all these different people. And I was like, well, at a certain level. It can't be different everybody, right? Otherwise, it just gonna be too confusing. And if it's confusing internally, it's certainly going to be confusing externally. How do you simplify that when obviously, you're selling through different levels of a supply chain?


Heather Bowman 22:00

I know, that's tricky. And that, I think, was the biggest challenge for me in my role as marketing director, because I needed to get the basic understanding of what that looked like. And going out in the field with our territory managers, just listening to customers, we did a bit of a road show when we launched the new brands. So that was really helpful to understand what mattered to them. And they were all very excited about the new photography that we rolled out the new logos, because it was just interesting, it was premium. And they knew that having some of those tools would be would help them sell our product better whether that was to the contractor or contractor homeowner. So it is it is tricky. I do agree, though. You know, in our case, the leadership has done a great job of setting like, this is what we do. This is what our purpose is, this is our values and culture. And we just live that out, regardless of our customer.


Bradley Hartmann 22:56

Okay. You mentioned the rebrand. I am not well, I think I've told you this before, but the superior plastic products, killing fencing and railing that I knew when I was first introduced to them. When was this? Actually I think I know, I remember the show, I'm gonna say 2014. That branding, that typeface, that colors, everything that went with it. That's what I had known for several years. And when you guys rolled out the new branding, the new logos, I thought it was fantastic. Like I referred. I've got a couple of our clients who are certainly not with us, but they've hired an outside branding firm to kind of help them overhaul and refresh. And I said, go check out what you guys done. Thank you. I mean, I think it's really incredible. I do. My guess is the result came from a lot of gnashing of teeth and a lot of hard work and a lot of different decisions and conversations. How long did that process go for you guys to arrive at where you did and and also if you can, for the audience maybe just mentioned each one of those URLs because or I mean, they could just Google either yes,


Heather Bowman 24:05

just Google.


Bradley Hartmann 24:09

But talking about that process and that process begin before you or did you come in and help initiate that process?


Heather Bowman 24:16

No, I I came in and that was what we started off. That was our first Oh, okay. Rock if you will, the first thing that we've we internally identified as we needed to get our brand story right we need to do we call it it rejuvenate the brand, in order for us to go and achieve the goals and the market share growth that we needed to that had to be fixed, fundamentally got to get the foundation strong. So we worked, gosh, months. I mean, we rolled it, we rolled it out a key link and November 2020. Okay, so we did have some time during the pandemic to really be quiet and to kind of think through some of those things. Our graphic designer Jason, he went and studied and God is Inspiration, I think he did, like 300 sketches of it. He did so many. He really wrestled with it. And there's little details about the logo that are super special to us. And they're all tie back to the brand story and who we are as a company. So I think that's one thing that people should keep in mind. A logo should never carry the company, the logo should be a representation of the company, and it should tie back to the brand. But it shouldn't be all that the brand is. Well, I think sometimes people get caught up in that, like, they're like, I want a new brand. Can you make me a new logo? It's not the same thing. It's much more complex. If you do it, right. It takes time. And as I said before, it's it's never ending, you're always working to keep it up and keep it fresh.


Bradley Hartmann 25:51

Yeah, well, I think it's interesting to hear that Jason came up with 300 designs,


Heather Bowman 25:57

and it may not Jason, I'm sorry for you listen to this, it may or may not be 300 was the number that sticks in my head. But the


Bradley Hartmann 26:04

idea that I think somebody like that it's just fun, someone freelance and you know, we haven't come up with one over a week or two. And we'll give us a couple options. And we'll pick it right. And regard regardless of that numbers, accurate or not. The idea though, you got to wrestle with is you got to really go through and I think sometimes it's cool and exciting to think about a brand refresh. But to your point, if it's not really consistent. And ideally, when you look at it, there's so much more depth that at least internally you guys feel, and then that really helps when you kind of can share that story externally. Right? So walk me through maybe once you get the designs, you're pulling out the core values, you see the brand story, once you start saying okay, I see this, what does it look like when you do that launch to go from internal kind of Llandeilo getting all this foundation to ready to really share it with the world? What happens then? And what just general timelines should that entail?


Heather Bowman 27:01

Yes? Well, at the same time, in parallel to Jason creating the logo, Melanie, who is our content developer, she was writing out our values and culture. So our leadership team gave us statements like this, this is our culture, but we expanded those and version them a little bit for the brand. Because we needed those definitions to be distinct for key length at the time, that's what we were working on. So she did an incredible job of wordsmithing and weaving those elements together. And then Ashley, who was our digital specialist, at the time, she also brought them to life in the different channels. So it really was a team effort. And I think that's super important, because it can't just fall on one person shoulders to do all those things. Maybe if you're magic, or I don't know. But it's, it's almost impossible in my mind. So people are doing things at different times. I mean, I would say it was, you know, a six month eight month period, where we were presenting to leadership are finding things until we were really ready to roll it out to the world. And it is scary, because when you roll it out, you want people to like it, you know, and we did some photoshoots with it too, because, you know, visuals is really how people connect. We know that people scroll through Instagram way more than unfortunately, read books are that kind of you know, people are so visually driven now, that if you don't have strong photography, that tie back to your brand story, or that showcase your product in an intriguing way or show that humans are life in your photography, you're going to be overlooked. So for us rolling it out was a real, intentional blend of photography, and content and language and design.


Bradley Hartmann 28:45

Just curious. When you go through this process to say we need engaging imagery and photography with people without people of the product. ballpark. How many images are you looking for? We're talking dozens we're talking hundreds


Heather Bowman 29:03

and a good photo shoot, you get lots of different angles. Okay, hundreds baby, okay, do you use all of them? No, but you need you need close ups of the Raeleen for a spec sheet or you know, you need to show the brackets and but the homeowner doesn't want to see that right? So you talking going back to the channel distribution. We do need different photography for who we're communicating to okay, but we we absolutely want to show life in our photography because we want people to be able to picture themselves whether it looks like that in the end. We want them to be able to dream that that's where they could be Yeah, so photography is often aimed at the contractor and the homeowner because they're the ones who are actually buying and together they're consulting and you know, working it out. The other points are more of an influencer, you know, influencing the sale down to the contractor.


Bradley Hartmann 29:59

May this is done question but I specialized dumb questions. Just hire actors for that, or can you get employees?


Heather Bowman 30:05

Well, we sometimes we've hired talent. We've used my son in one of them because it was during the pandemic, and he volunteered. His his mom said, Look, if you do this, I'll buy you a dinosaur. And that's then that contract was sealed.


Bradley Hartmann 30:21

Initially was like, a teenager, and then that dinosaur like must be younger.


Heather Bowman 30:26

Yeah. So we were talking about my daughters, I do have a 15 year old, a 12 year old and I have a five and a half, almost six year old. He was the one my daughter's like, no.


Bradley Hartmann 30:39

Oh, well, I do want to make sure ask you talked about social media. Because you guys came up on my radar, we had some of your teams come into our sales. Yeah, middles workshop. And whenever we got the names of the person who's coming, we did our research. So we know who's coming and what their strengths were and what their weaknesses and their goals are. That's so smart. And I was blown away. So I didn't say anything to a few members of your team. But I literally when we were talking about kind of social media and selling and being different. I mean, I can refer to these things. I am not an expert at them. There were experts on your team who was in there. So I gave him the microphone. I think, Jeremiah, Jeremiah, I think he just jumped on the stage. He came to light. And but I was blown away. So maybe just talk to me about, you know, when you kind of get into some of the social media channels, how you think about that? And maybe how that really helps you guys tell your story?


Heather Bowman 31:37




I know, it's a lot of questions. There's


Heather Bowman 31:40

a lot I think I'm thinking so that I answer it in a concise way, because there's lots of different angles that we could take. We look at all of our different social media channels as having different purposes. And I think a lot of people in the marketing profession do that currently, just the way when I first started, we looked at direct mail and billboards all serve different purposes, but working together towards the same goal. Yep. So for us a lot of our recruiting, we focus on Facebook and LinkedIn. You know, Instagram is really the space where we talk to our contractors, which is not unique to us as a manufacturer, it's not a trade secret. That's pretty much what everybody's doing on Instagram. And for us, it was just a new way to communicate. And in with video, too, we have spent time this year, really developing our video collection, if you will, we hired Ben who is new to our team, and he produces and creates the videos for us, he does an amazing job. Because we want to be able to communicate to people wherever they want to be communicated to. So whether that's a contractor who wants to read the install guides, cool, you go do that. But if you want to watch a video on how to do that, we have that also for you to look at. And so social media became a place where we could showcase our photography, but also, we're working more to integrate videography, and it whether it's here's how you do a quick horizontal cable takeoff, or here's s on a photoshoot just being goofy, whatever. We obviously want to keep it on brand. But it's just a way to show to peel the curtain back a little bit and show that we're a real company we all live here, in you know, in Pennsylvania, and around the US, we serve all sorts of different customers. And so it's just a fun way to add life to our brand and be authentic at the same time.


Bradley Hartmann 33:22

And the video I had Alicia talk about was her and maybe Jordan and some of your colleagues literally assembling the rail. Yes, I thought it was authentic. It seemed like they're having fun. Yeah, obviously like where they work. Yeah. And for someone I'm not super mechanically inclined. So if you just said, Hey, here's his whole railing, you'd have to put together? Well, I'm not even remotely close to a contractor. I would there'd be some level of intimidation. But how would I do that? Could I do that? And then I watched this video, I was like, Oh, actually, it is pretty easy. You're doing it step by step.


Heather Bowman 34:00

We, we absolutely design all of our products with the contractor in mind. And we want it to be easy quote to install, because that saves contractor time, it saves them labor costs. I mean, there's so many advantages, and everyone's looking for a way to gain an extra hour and save an extra buck. So we definitely designed our products to be easy to install for the contractor, our VP of sales and marketing. So my boss told us that we all have to know how to install systems. If we want to be at trade shows, because people are gonna ask us questions, and so we have to be able to answer them. I'm getting. I mean, I did also do that and I'm not as good as Jordan. But IBS is next week. And I'm gonna I'm gonna do it and I'll be fine.


Bradley Hartmann 34:51

Well, it's funny. You mentioned that I have a close friend. He's been on the show a couple times. He's coming back on the show. His name's Mike Barrett. He owns bear Holmes. He is quite frankly especially for Keeling keys. He is your demographic, and really beautiful homes in Chicagoland area, and his biggest pet peeve. And sometimes if he's being honest, maybe he seeks these out. He talks to people trade shows, and ask them some specific questions because he's, he's got a small team, and he's really close to the contractors who are doing the installation. Don't ask him some very detailed questions. And over and over again, he finds out, it's people don't really know what they're talking about once he starts talking specific. So I think for you guys to really take that additional time and effort means a lot, but I think you're 100% on point to go from marketing to selling when you're in front of that contractor. And you can say is, yes, my name is Heather. Yes, I'm female. Yes, I'm really comfortable. And let me tell you about all these sorts of things. Yes, that immediately differentiates you and the brand.


Heather Bowman 35:51

Yeah. And I think it tells her brand story, because we want to be truthful, you want to be authentic. We want to be able to communicate who we are, as a company not trying to sell the product, we're just trying to tell the story of the product. And if they, from my perspective, if a contractor has specific questions we can have redirect that contractor, then to our product manager or technical specialist or someone who can go into the nitty gritty, we can speak to some of that, but at a certain point, it's better to hand off and carry that conversation further. But we can absolutely go for it.


Bradley Hartmann 36:25

Alright, Heather, one last question here. Before I let you go, you made a quick recommendation on a podcast, I'm going to ask you to repeat that I subscribed to him excited. Listen to that. And then just from a marketing branding, do you have a recommendation, a book you that you read in the past or one that you've read recently that you'd recommend? So kind of a combo there multimedia recommendation? Starting with the podcast?


Heather Bowman 36:49

Yes, the podcast is a CMO podcast by Jim Stangl. I think that's how you pronounce his last name. And who is he? So he was the global cmo for Procter and Gamble for seven years. And was one I think of the thought leaders that introduced the Pampers brand in a new direction where it was all focused on the mom and the baby and a premium diaper, I guess. But he's really well known for creating brand stories, and creating purpose driven businesses. And that's something I think that has caught a lot more attention over the past couple years. Good companies have been doing it for years, right. But it is a newer theory and business development. And I just think it's incredible. Yeah. And more than just, it's more than just a theory. You can tie it to real results. You can tie it to retention, you can tie it to sales growth. So great podcast, it's longer, but definitely worth your time to listen to.


Bradley Hartmann 37:47

Okay, well, if he has been doing that, a leadership level at p&g, he's someone you want to listen to, because they will. They're incredible. Last century, they've been doing it almost better than anybody. So yes, Redbox.


Heather Bowman 38:00

The Tipping Point is an incredible book that I think is 10 or 15 years old. Yeah. And it talks about what is that point in time of the products journey, where it becomes really successful? And what is it that causes it to become really successful, they give examples of commerce in there, which, you know, Commerce has been around, my dad always says, when he sees my daughter's, he's like, I wear those shoes, and I played. And now they're back in style. I mean, they look so great. They're just a little bit higher, maybe the design is different, but they've been able to be around for generations. And there's tipping points and what kind of throughout their product lifecycle that brought them back into the trend. So


Bradley Hartmann 38:42

yeah. Just knows how to write a really readable book. Yes, it is. No, it there's a lot of, you know, the kind of this merging between business stuff and just, you know, converse and pop culture.


Heather Bowman 38:57

behavior. That's so absolutely. Yeah. So that's a good one. And then I'm, we're looking to hire a new position on our team. And so I read the ideal team player, because it's a quick read, but really thoughtful, really well written. And it just brings you back to the basics of Who do you want to work with every day, someone who's smart, someone who's humble, someone's hungry. All of those things make a great team player.


Bradley Hartmann 39:22

Yeah. Well, for someone who tries to write and hopefully writing better in the future, if you can read a book, and I like I close that book by Patrick Lencioni seems like hungry, humble, smart, right? That's it, you know? And then whenever somebody says, I'm like, hungry, humble, smart, and so many people like that's locked in. You're like, yes, thank you kind of really put his put his thumb on something there, which


Heather Bowman 39:46

is cool. I think whenever you can tell a story. It just made you do a great job at the LVM conference. You told a lot of stories and you talked about Tom Brady Who's my favorite, and maybe he's retiring right now but when you put the picture up a Tom Brady is like, Oh, this guy He's on point I like,


Bradley Hartmann 40:02

oh, good feedback. Thank you. That's good enough. Well, hey, I appreciate you're extremely busy. You had other things that were going on here. And I feel terrible. You have a long drive. I


Heather Bowman 40:13

know. It's so I drink enough coffee to sustain me. So I'll be, I'll be fine.


Bradley Hartmann 40:19

Well, this has been wonderful. And I've a couple times that we've got to talk at length. I really enjoyed it. And


Heather Bowman 40:24

likewise, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Bradley Hartmann 40:33

All right. All right. All right. I didn't over promise that did I, I don't believe I did. I enjoyed listening to this multiple times. And right now we are going through our own brand, refresh. And then some, lots of news coming about that that you don't want to hear about now. But this was really helpful for me and for our team, to again, get our minds around all the different levers that can be pulled and pushed under the auspices of brand management, and Heather was a wonderful jungle guide to get us started down that path. Now, you know, our goal is to make this best podcast you listened to, I'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas for future shows, or potential guests, or any sales fundamentals issues that you're dealing with. Don't hesitate to email me directly at And you can link up with me on LinkedIn, do that you should totally get what it's there for and connect with me on Instagram at behind your back. See II Oh, now if you did find this episode with Heather Bowman to be valuable, please share it with a network. And if you're going to go nuts, I'd love it. leave a review. Those mean more to us than you know. Before we go a quick shout out to our friends at Capital One trade credit, they brought this episode to you. That's right. They brought it to you on a silver platter couldn't have been done without them. As far as you know, if you want to increase cash flow, increase revenue while decreasing risk and leveraging an extremely powerful platform to make it easier for your customers to buy from you. Google Capital One trade credit and see if it's a fit for you. That's all we've got my friends. We're gonna close out like we always do with our leadership mantra. You my friend, are owed nothing. deliver value first.