Branding Is Everything

The Inventive Journey
Episode #350
Branding Is Everything
w/ Justin Leonard

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self

"Branding is everything. People want to do business with people not a logo. That is what I very much stick by. You have to show case who you are as a person, why someone should do business with you, what the culture of your company is. That is what people want to see when they do business with somebody."


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What Is The Inventive Journey?

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

ai generated transcription

is your everything your personal brand you know people want to do business with people not a logo that's what i very much stick by right so you know you have to showcase who you are as a person why somebody should do business with you what the culture of your company is that is what people want to see when they do business with somebody [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast denise and i didn't remember to ask her how to pronounce her last name so i'm going with galit tasso and i know that is completely slaughtered pronounce every letter that's as good as it's gonna get i'll probably spot her if i try it again so we'll go with denise g because i can't pronounce it but denise uh is a quick introduction uh went to an all-girl catholic uh high school in new jersey um had a hard time following the rigid a rigid course of school uh did well but that just the core it did well in the course if you like didn't do as well in the courses he didn't like which makes sense i wanted to go to college and get a nursing degree i'm in junior high school or in junior year of college i couldn't pass chemistry didn't like chemistry decided to switch majors and then out of college uh went into behavior working at a behavioral health facility um in community doing some community outreach things switched over to doing some digital marketing um was primarily self-taught i've started a blog about digital marketing switched over to the company where she ran the social rant or ran the social media aspect of it for seven years and now is taken over as president and i think ceo of the company if i remember right so with that much is hopefully a mostly accurate introduction with the slight slaughtering of the name welcome on to the podcast denise thank you and yes it's galia satos you literally just pronounced every letter all right there's no way i would have got it i understand how you get there from or what you say it but i would have slaughtered it nonetheless so all right well i took a a longer journey condensed into the 30-second version of it but tell us a bit about how your journey got started with the the all-girl catholic high school in new jersey yeah so thanks um happy to be here kind of talk about you know my journey i kind of fast-tracked uh my way to you know a pretty hefty title of president and co so i grew up in new jersey uh bergen county which um borders uh new york city all the way up there and um i went to for high school i went to an all-girl catholic high school um it was you know a wonderful experience my sister went there as well my best friends created best friends there um you know and it was a very big college preparatory high school you know everything that we were doing their curricular curriculum wise was to gear us up for college but um i was involved in a lot of things i you know was on the track team i was in the plays i did a lot of community service like that's what i was really into and i was just a terrible terrible student um you know so much so that you know i think at one point i even had like a d in religion and you know come on give us a break i just wasn't a good student you know and now you know as a 34 year old i'm able to you know openly talk about how what a horse student um i was um not ashamed of it you know anymore could you know things have been different absolutely but i just you know i wasn't a wasn't a good student i had a lot of trouble you know staying within the confines of certain structures of you know curriculums and following that sort of um thing which i think you know being that way has led me to you know have you know great success in you know business but um whatever so i was at the heavenly holy angels i went to college i went to mountain st mary college um i got in to the nursing program so i was set to become a nurse it was something that you know my mom was a labor and delivery nurse so i always thought that you know well i would be a nurse too um and um you know went to college it was a great school and i you know my freshman year i was in a lot of science courses very heavy um you know anatomy and physiology and chemistry and you know some really heavy courses and i unfortunately ended up um failing out of school my freshman year um you know just because again i was involved in other things and wanted to have a good time and you know couldn't really stay in like that you know structure of studying and whatnot and so um ended up appealing it they accepted me back in as long as i can keep my you know average i think it was like i had to stay over a 3.5 then moving forward um so i did worked really hard and then you know junior year i was supposed to be able to move on to the next set of courses and everything i was kind of on like a five-year plan at that point which isn't honestly that bad now looking at it knowing how long it takes some people to graduate college you know at the time you're like five years what but some people stay for ten years you know it's like it's just it's the norm um and i needed a c in microbiology and i got a c minus and i was like you know what i just something's not right here maybe this isn't the path for me i ended up switching majors ended up getting a 4.0 um i went into sociology and psychology as my uh major nothing with marketing at all it was one of those things where it was like let me do this let me you know keep going graduate and um you know i could go into you know behavioral health and that's sort of medical um so after college i had you know started working with behavioral health um programs and companies and one of the programs i worked at my job was to go out and build relationships with uh key people at the hospitals that when people were discharged from the hospital they then would come to the day program i'm sorry can you hear those motorcycles i have never had motorcycles go down my block before it go you're good it adds to the ambiance so go ahead oh my gosh geez sorry about that um and so anyway it was about you know going in and presenting to you know keystock at the hospital what the day program was about and why people who were discharged should come to the day program it was people you know who had um substance abuse issues who had any type of you know mental health disorder stuff like that and so that was like one quick question on that because i mean in one sense it has the same overlay nursing is it in in his core is trying to help people or you know has a much of a an idea of helping other people with sicknesses and then you're going into you know some of the community outreach doing some of the you know mental health and helping other people so on that sense it keeps along the same lines but on an educational sense it's a fairly different one's anatomy one's how the body works there's how to treat the physical which the other one is much more on the behavioral side and helping people now which is on the mental so how did you make that switch or what made you decide to switch gears from kind of more on the hey i'll help you treat the the physical elements to one what's more on the the mental elements that's a great question so i worked at a hospital um through college as a nurse's aide and i i floated i worked on every floor so i you know started on an oncology unit i floated to you know mother baby i floated to just a um you know a sixth floor and then i also used to go to the uh mental health uh floor as well um and i did have experience you know working with patients who um did have you know mental health disorders or substance abuse disorder so it was something that i wasn't super uncomfortable with so when i graduated and was looking for um a career in you know healthcare i didn't really know how far i could potentially go with just the bachelors in sociology and psychology right usually a lot of people then go on with their master's doctorate all of that i had found this and said okay let me try this but what's funny about it is that it was very much aligned with what i do today which is you know relationship building sales marketing which i didn't realize at the time right like for me to go into a hospital and sit and have these great conversations with you know doctors and nurses um about our program i didn't real i never realized i was doing sales i never realized it you know my whole thought thought process was okay you know we have this free day program and your people should come here afterwards and you know we'll help them you know get back on their feet and this and that and i never aligned it with marketing and sales until years later when i was you know thinking back and i was like oh my gosh like i was doing that for a reason you know um so that's basically how i you know fell into it and then what had happened was was um i lived at the jersey shore and um hurricane sandy hit and uh everything shut down down at the jersey shore and one of the things that we used to do with the day program was help people um you know sign up for their disability benefits so somebody would take them to the disability office um and help them do all of that the social security office all of that when hurricane sandy hit these offices became you know of course flooded with people who needed fema insurance and homes and help with that so all of our stuff you know took kind of a um a back seat and it became a lot more difficult and the business just um you know started to decline you know in a bit that way with taking on new people um so i you know after the hurricane it happened and everything i kind of took a step back for a second and um i was like you know what do i really like to do what is it that i want to do and i was still very young i was only you know 23 years old um you know my husband now we were he was my boyfriend we were living together in like a little beach shack at the jersey shore you know our rent was like 700 a month you know so it's like fact it's like you don't really have those responsibilities of making quick movements so i ended up leaving um the day program and i you know babysat nannied i started working at a store in one of the coastal towns down here and again sales and i really like sales and you know showing off you know what we had in the store and it wasn't so much about making money but it was the passion of what like wow look at what we have to offer in the store and people coming in and needing help buying things for mother's day that was always like my favorite time at the store um was doing that or when we had you know big um community events in the town and you know the seafood festival and you know the store would be packed and i used to just love that and i was like talking to somebody on the beach one day um and it was actually my cousin's friend and i said you know i think i really like marketing and sales and she said to me she said oh she said my very good friend is the digital director at a marketing agency would you want to connect with him and i said sure okay so i found him on linkedin connected with him reached out um and they took me on as an intern um and so you know i went in and i you know i think we had a phone interview i don't think i drove all the way to princeton because prince is actually an hour away from where i live um and they took me on as an intern he said one of the things that you know really stood out was you connected with me on linkedin and i was like that sounds like such a simple thing but you know years ago when digital was first coming on the scene people weren't really thinking to utilize those types of tools so in his mind it was oh wow she's digitally focused she connected with me on linkedin you've got to know how to use all of the technology exactly like it's like oh wow she's obviously you know native to a social platform so um yeah so i went and i interned there you know learned a good amount social media marketing there really was no advertising we were you know possibly just boosting posts it was all organic you could you know back then you know post um a picture on facebook as a business page and get like over 500 likes like this you know the algorithm was extremely different but um you know learned a lot and um i was there maybe a year and a half and commuted every day like an hour um was not making you know a lot of money at all but again i was barely had any rent and i still babysat and you know it was fun times you're in early 20s and then when it came time where i wanted to you know potentially progress onto full-time they didn't have a position for me and i was you know at the time very like as any young person would be you know what do you mean you don't have a position for me i've worked so hard and um kind of realized that i could do this by myself and i started to you know blog um about digital marketing and i started to tweet more and i started to connect with more people and i started to you know watch videos on social advertising as it was you know starting to come out and write about it and talk about it and um i started to interview and that's when i ended up at uh pcg companies which is now pcg digital um and that was in 24 beginning of 2015. yeah um i don't know if you want to pause or anything before i go into like my progression at pcg but yeah no and i think that that's uh definitely is interesting and you know and then and it's a good walkthrough and so you know makes it interesting it makes for an interesting progression from going from nursing to going to behavioral science to to a large extent switching gears and it sounds like you know hey this is interesting to me i can you know i don't have which is nice at least when you're young and now i'm you know married for 14 years have four kids and don't quite have that same level of disability pack things up but when you're younger you say hey i can pack things up i can try something out if it doesn't work out i'm you know i can always uh you know i can a pivot or adjust and i have plenty of kind of runway in front of me and definitely makes sense but now you're saying okay so i'm gonna take that as an opportunity to try something new or different and you got into it you loved it and you also figured out hey i know it's a new field and i probably can figure this out or know as much as many of the people out there so now as you're going in and you kind of go through that progression and you move to the business which where you're at today how did you get and you may have covered it and i may have just talked too long and forgot but how did you get to where this is now you're applying for this position because eventually you worked over k you know cutting to the end you took over as president ceo but how did you kind of get connected to them and was you know what was it that how did you progress up the you know the ranks to where you're at today yeah so i had saw that they had an opening for um social media at the company pcg and i applied and um had a great interview and the digital director at the time had called me back and was like look you know facebook and social but you really should come on and do google adwords that's where it's at like that's where the future is um you know and i think that you know there's a bigger position to fill a role to fill there than the social side and i said no i was like no i said you know what i've done you know and what i've learned now and what i've been blogging about and you know progressing on is social media um and that's what i want to stick with so sorry um and then three two months two or three months later they contacted me back and said okay you know why don't you come on you know we have an opening for social and when i came onto the company at pcg digital i we maybe had two clients utilizing social advertising at the time there really wasn't like a full social advertising department um and our biggest clients at pcg are automotive dealerships so we had two auto dealerships utilizing social nobody was really doing it the bread and butter was seo and content and you know google adwords but very you know even minimal budgets on google adwords back then too um so you know i took the position and i took on the social clients that they had and um just kept working you know through things in facebook ads manager right because the thing is is that i think a lot of people in the digital realm you know if you're taught how to do something people feel that they just need to stick to that but digital marketing is extremely robust like you shouldn't just constantly stick with what somebody told you how to do things it should be ever evolving ever changing because these machines are always one step ahead of you right like facebook's algorithm changes constantly so does instagrams the targeting options and ads manager this that so as i was running ads for these clients i would make tweaks and it wasn't at the expense of their budget which back then it used to be hey if you want us to do more we're going to need more ad spend but i put us in a unique position at the company where i was like i could work with the ad spend you have and i'm going to make all these tweaks and that's what grew the department um and then we have uh at pcg we had just started to create our online learning center um so we have an online learning center where we have videos that we've updated through the years that auto dealers or even non-auto dealers can purchase and learn digital marketing and so i was asked to do the social media one and you know it's the screen and you sit and record yourself talking going through ads manager and the owner of the company um brian heard me speak and he you know called me and was like would you want to speak professionally and i was like sure you know what the heck and that's basically kind of how everything skyrocketed from there um started writing more for the company i started traveling to speak um alongside of him i've spoken at my own events i spoke internationally in 2019 i went to portugal um and spoke at the world shopper automotive conference and it was one of those things where i wasn't afraid to take risks and i wasn't afraid to you know showcase my skills i because what i was doing at the time wasn't really fitting into a box there was no right or wrong way because social media advertising was so new for the automotive space that a lot of what i was talking about was then being followed across the board um and it was super exciting times and so you know i was able to build up the department um and then after i you know was on the social media department like that i took over the role of vp of marketing um and we rebranded the company to pcg digital um and then in 2019 i took over as president and ceo of the company so now you can and that all makes sense you condense the last portion as to how did you make the leap from president and ceo another ceo sorry in other words you worked up for a while and that makes sense what was the did this become in other words hey the areas that you're working on are so vital to the company that's really what you know where the revenue is driving and you have the most experience it makes sense did you go to your boss or the current owner and say hey i'd like to be the president or ceo or did you buy into it or kind of how did you make that transition or how did you able to make that leap yeah so there's you know and that's a great question so there's really strength in numbers right so when you look at the way a company operates you know if you only have two people that are constantly traveling and speaking on behalf of the company you're going to do better with three people right so there were at the time where i you know had helped rebrand the company as the vp of marketing and kept speaking more and writing more and traveling more there was you know really a need to build teams at the company like and to help us keep elevating in that aspect and since i had already built the social team then i rebuilt the marketing team it was okay if somebody's going to rebuild the teams at this company and be the face of the brand of the company as pcg digital she's already speaking she's already writing she knows how to build teams and i showed interest too once that you know um there was the opportunity i did raise my hand very much so and i said you know i would like to you know take on this role um and again not afraid to take the leap you know and again i it's funny because when i think back of if i had that opportunity now now that i am married with a child you know are we as willing to take risks when we have more at stake right you know in 2019 we weren't married yet i didn't have a child we had just purchased our house but you still were able to make take more risks right now with a a baby i don't know if those risks are you know if you're so willing so everything kind of worked out the way it should have you know for me um but i took over as president in 2019 had a great year and then march 2020 hit the pandemic um and we all went home and i was uh six months pregnant when we went home all of us and that was a crazy time you know uh the uh clients were nervous you know they shut down auto dealerships of course across the country um so those were crazy times and um you know obviously the staff was nervous i'm proud to say that we worked really hard we didn't have to lay off any of our staff at pcg we stayed strong a lot of the clients who had paused came back which was great and i navigated that and uh took the whole company remote officially um which was good and in the interim i had a baby as well during that time also sounds like plenty to keep you busy and out of trouble so no it sounds like a great journey and uh definitely fun to find fun to hear to just share that so with that now as we're kind of arriving to where the present a bit and kind of uh catching up with your journey it's always a great time to transition a bit to the two questions i always asked the end of each journey so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made when'd you learn from it that's a great question the worst business decision i ever made was thinking years ago at the company that i was interning at that my company owed me something worst business decision anybody can ever make you know at the end of the day your company your company doesn't owe you anything if you work hard and you get paid your paycheck that's what you're owed you you work to your paycheck i think a lot of people get stuck in this mindset of that um they need their company to progress they need their company to thrive and you should you you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit at the end of the day if you want to be a star at something right you shouldn't really stay confined so the worst business decision was i think i stayed maybe even everything worked out the way it was but i think i stayed a little too long as an intern um back then just because you know oh no they owe me this i should have this full-time position blah blah that was that was a mistake years years ago at this point that i really definitely um you know think i could have you know navigated differently but again i was young i really didn't have um you know that much um you know that i was responsible for right you know it's a lot different but that was that was definitely a big mistake another big mistake that i've made you know in the past couple of years was um as a leader and i'm not afraid to admit this too i've let um you know instead of being very confident in my decisions all the time sometimes i've let other people sway my decisions um especially within the past two years where you're leading more with empathy um than you are with you know like a realistic approach because of the times that we were in the past two years uh leadership skills shifted definitely because it wasn't so much it was it you it wasn't so much a survival mode as everybody knows right but we did shift the way that we were doing things as far as you know our i mean everybody had a lot of stuff going on not just myself you know people's you know had you know family members that were sick and they were scared and they hadn't seen people and this and that and i think one of i think i would have liked to have stayed a little more you know focused during those times but i don't like to get too hard on myself because again i was carrying a life at the time or two so you know there was a lot of factors there so i don't even know i like the one that you hit on even in the first which is i think mistake that especially seems like when you're younger in your career or less experienced it doesn't mean age requirement i think it can happen anytime but if you're less experienced especially as you're trying to move up in the company right you can get the in uh i guess i'll say entitlement i don't know if that's quite the right word i think it is yeah but you can feel like hey i'm doing i'm working really hard i'm doing a really good job i should be promoted or i should have more responsibility i should have the ability to be you know ceo or manager and all those things and yet you know what were you hired on for you're hired on for a position you were a whether it's an intern or your height on as an entry level employee or any things and you're getting paid for those positions and you have the thing well i'm doing my job yeah that's why you're getting paid and why you're getting well compensated but i think that you know while it may the positions may open up and you may have those opportunities it shouldn't be you'll come along with i'm entitled to these just because i work hard because most of the time everybody works hard at the company and that's not a you know just because you work hard doesn't so i like that and i think that that's a lot of times it's just one we have to go through that experience because i've been there too and i reflect back on when i worked for other law firms i always thought hey i'm working harder than everybody else that should be recognized well was i just didn't get it at the time so i i i've echoed that i think that's a great takeaway second question i always ask is if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece if i should give them branding your brand is your everything your personal brand you know people want to do business with people not a logo that's what i very much stick by right so you know you have to showcase who you are as a person why somebody should do business with you what the culture of your company is that is what people want to see when they do business with somebody 110 i myself know that as a consumer and i know that as you know the leader of a digital agency and that's what we strive for to provide for our digital clients is really helping them showcase their brands and then your you know your personal brand is very important too so for anybody that works at a company you know don't think that you have to sit behind the company logo as well you you are your own personal so you need to have a personal brand you know whether you're connecting with people on linkedin whether you're strengthening your writing skills because you know the stronger that you are at that it makes you stronger but also makes your company stronger too i think a lot of people sometimes forget that that if you know we all work in tandem together um showcasing who we are we're strengthening the company together so biggest advice for those businesses is you know your personal brand um your employees brands as well make sure that they get a chance to shine um and make sure you know you're showcasing the people for sure absolutely and i think you know and i like i said brand is more than a logo which you know it makes sense when you hear it but a lot of times that's what people tend to tend to fixate on or tend to because that's kind of you know the first thing you make the logo for the company get excited and it's you know it's fun to have and i still is still part of the branding but it shouldn't be that's what you rely on and that's a brand it really is that story behind it and that you know that the whole or the whole portion of the brand and that's just a very small aspect so it's a great takeaway well as we wrap up if people want to reach out to they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be a employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you and find out more sure so you can email me denise at you can find me at denise golly at satos on linkedin and instagram just pronounce every letter when you say the last name but and then also you can find out more about the company at awesome well i definitely encourage people to reach out contact you find out more and support a great business and thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you just go to and apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with your business or for patents trademarks or anything else just go to grab some mind time with us at chat and we're always here to help thank you again denise for coming on the podcast and wish the next leg of a journey even better than the last thanks

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