Ed Rusch
April 10, 2020

Why Purpose Matters Even More in the Post-COVID Era

Guest: Ed Rusch - Head of Global Marketing, Command Alkon

Where do you go when you’re a guest on Renegade Thinkers Unite but can’t find a quiet place in the house? To the RV, of course! That’s where Ed Rusch, the VP of Marketing at Command Alkon, has set up his #WFH headquarters, working closely with his team as the company adapts to working remotely. Fortunately, the heavy construction software company isn’t new to big change—over the last three years, Rusch has led the launch of an impressive brand transformation, repositioning Command Alkon as a category innovator and leading provider with the perfectly pithy purpose-driven story statement: “Together we build amazing.”

Command Alkon had defined the way that business was done for the last 40 years, so when they found an even better way of doing things, they were setting out to disrupt themselves in order to change the industry, pulling intercompany value from a supply chain perspective through to construction. On this week’s episode, Rusch leads us through Command Alkon’s brand reimagination, starting with the quick wins that generate leads and gain executive buy-in, developing a provocative story, and then bringing that story out to employees and customers in order to build upon that promise.

For additional materials about finding your brand’s purpose in order to weather any storm, take a look at our comprehensive guide to effective B2B brand strategy. For more about how brand purpose can help businesses out of a downturn, check out our 6 tips to drive B2B demand generation.

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Ed Rusch

Drew Neisser: Hello Renegade Thinkers! We’re in a post-COVID world, so every show, I feel that it’s important that we at least acknowledge that and the impact that it’s having on everybody. So, for example, I’m recording this from my home office, and my guest today is in his RV because that was the best place that Ed Rusch of Command Alkon could find. Of course, I’m recording these during the late afternoon because that’s the only time it’s quiet enough in my apartment to do them, that’s when the dog goes out for a walk. Anyway, Ed, you’re the first guest of mine to be in an RV. Welcome to Renegade Thinkers Unite.

Ed Rusch: It’s such a great pleasure to be on the show. Thanks for having me, sir.

Drew Neisser: Well, you’re welcome, and this is a tricky time for all of us. It’s having an immediate impact and the whole theme for the show is business transformation. We’re going to start with business transformation on the short term, what it means to take 400 or 500 people that used to be coming into an office and now suddenly are #WFH, and then we’ll talk about the larger business transformation of moving from a traditional industry and becoming a leading provider. Just so you know, it’s kudos to your team that I’m talking to the audience, Command Alkon was a fortune fast company innovative company of the year named earlier this year. They are in the logistics category, working with the construction industry.

Ed Rusch: Yeah, absolutely. We help build the amazing world around you.

Drew Neisser: There you go. So here you were in a traditional industry of construction and you went through a business transformation in terms of repositioning the company, and we’ll talk about that, but let’s talk about all the things that have happened since COVID. Let’s first talk about workforce transformation. You mentioned to me that you’ve had to move everybody remotely, so talk a little bit about the challenges that you faced there.

Ed Rusch: Absolutely. I think one of the things that everyone is really starting to see is the need to be resilient and adaptable and to be able to make smarter decisions faster as news breaks. “Expect the unexpected” is the cliché, but that’s only becoming more and more true as opposed to less and less true.

Drew Neisser: It’s so interesting that you said, “expect the unexpected.” I totally agree, but how many contingency plans can a company have? This is a contingency plan, frankly, that you watch the Bill Gates video and know this is something that he saw five years ago, that he said, “This is going to happen. Here’s how we can prepare.” It’s like planning for a giant war, you need to get your muscles and operational strength together. But we didn’t add that as a country, and certainly, most companies didn’t have a “What to Do in a Global Pandemic” plan in their drawers.

Ed Rusch: No, absolutely not. I think what was fortuitous for us as an organization are a couple things. Number one, just the pace of the industry. Although construction is pretty traditional and we aren’t necessarily the fashion forward adopters of technology, there is a certain clock speed that happens in heavy construction, and in particular the space of construction that we’re in, which is concrete, asphalt, and all the rocks and things that make roads and bridges. Those things have a shelf life. Concrete can only be pliable in the drum of that truck for up to 90 minutes once it’s left the plant, asphalt needs to be cadenced out as that roadway gets resurfaced, so there’s a mindset within the industry that ended up being really beneficial about a need for pace, a need for staging, a need to pivot on the fly. From an infrastructure perspective, it’s almost part of the daily work routine that our customers have.

Drew Neisser: That makes sense. And, because you’re in the software part of the business, certainly that transformation as an organization has helped you. You mentioned when we were chatting earlier about how, now that you’ve moved your workforce remote, there will be a lot of conversations about whether or not we really all need to come to the office. I thought that was such an interesting thought and a timely thought as you’re in an RV to have this conversation. I’m upstairs and the only reason we’re having it now is because my wife is walking the dog and as much as the guests wouldn’t mind seeing Louie if we were doing video, it would interrupt this conversation. For me, not having a workplace is problematic, one, because you’re just not as well set up and two, I miss the collaboration and I miss the people. We’ve scheduled what we call Virtual Coffee Breaks and now we’ve scheduled our Friday afternoon Virtual Happy Hour, what are you doing with your team to try to get everybody together when they’re used to working together?

Ed Rusch: Yes, I would agree with you. I would miss many of the same things. I love those co-creation collaborative sessions that you have face-to-face with people, the ideation that can take place at a whiteboard in a room with some good snacks and coffee. We’re not going to be able to do those things for the foreseeable future, but it does enlighten the building up of different muscles within your business repertoire, not being solely reliant on those types of environments in order to be successful. What we’re finding is that Zoom meetings and webinars are more productive than they are beyond the inter-office ways that we’ve used them in the past, and now they’re becoming individualized.

I also implemented a daily virtual stand up in my team using these virtual tools. We’re getting together and touching point as a team at the beginning of the day and we’re also doing a quick touchpoint at the end of the day and just doing a quick “Robin, where do you need help? Are you plugged in? Something not working? What supplies do you need?” Asking all those fundamental questions, and then using collaboration tools like Slack and Trello. We’ve had those tools, but now we’re using them more and we’re finding that we’re day three into this reality as a team, and we’re not missing a beat at all. It’s exciting.

Drew Neisser: That’s great and, again, I think that marketing teams tend to be agile thinkers. I think that there are tools that will help. One of the things that I heard you say that I’m sure many of the CMO listeners have thought is, how do I stay close to my people? A morning and an afternoon meeting? They might not have done that. You didn’t do that in the office and on one hand, that might feel like you’re overly engaging, but on the other hand, because we’re isolated now, it probably pays to over-engage until you find the equilibrium.

Ed Rusch: Yeah, absolutely. Those stand-ups I just described aren’t necessarily 30 minutes or 60 minutes. We’re not putting together some arbitrary time and agenda associated with that. If it’s six minutes right across my nine people and everyone’s good, then everyone’s good, and we move on. It’s not particularly onerous if you’re thinking about it in those terms, but I will say, to combat the isolation and a team that’s not necessarily used to having to self-manage as much every day, you do have to reach out to one another, whether it’s from me to my folks or them amongst themselves, and be really intentional about doing that.

Drew Neisser: I completely agree. And it’s kind of fun. I don’t know if you’ve done a Zoom meeting with your nine people but it’s definitely like Hollywood Squares or Brady Bunch. I’ve noticed on Twitter that a number of people are sharing their Hollywood Squares or Brady Bunch moment, which is hilarious. I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but we’re all getting a kick out of it at Renegade and we’re looking forward to our first quarantinis, as they’re called. We’re having a little quarantini contest on Friday afternoon like we usually used to do at the office. What’s interesting here is, in many ways, this is forcing a business transformation on all of us to work virtually and to communicate better in that environment. I think you do bring up a really interesting point: there is no doubt the thought that this is going to hurt the real estate business in a way that people didn’t realize and the longer this goes on, the more likely it will hurt the business.

I also think there will be a countertrend to this because there are people who’ve been working alone for a long time, and some of them will tell you that it gets old. With all these tools, at least so far, there is no substitute for the random water cooler meeting. And then there’s this other question of problem-solving, where a group together in a room can solve a problem faster. Perhaps they can virtually but we’ll have to see. All right. Any last thoughts on this new business reality as a CMO leading a team virtually?

Ed Rusch: No, other than our environment was to come to the office every day, the team is together, you’re at your workstations or in your offices. We’ve gone from that side of the equation, and the pendulums swung all the way to the other side to where everyone’s untethered and working remotely. To your point that you just described, the reality is the healthy place or healthy balance is somewhere in the middle.

Do I think we go all the way back to in-the-office every day, 8-5 environments after this is done? No. Do we have more intentional get-togethers with the team so that people aren’t isolated, still have those whiteboard collaborative co-creation opportunities together? Absolutely. Should managers and other leaders embrace more extended work times, flexible schedules, people working from different locations? Absolutely. I’m really encouraged because I think at the end of all this most everybody will be in a better spot with regards to healthy work configuration then they were before this started.

Drew Neisser: I love your optimism. Perfect place for us to take a break.

BREAK

Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. We’ve been talking about the way that your business, at least the way managing your team has changed and, of course, your management with your peers. I mean, you know that the CMO role is such a complicated role to begin with and you’ve been there now three years. Let’s talk about some of the things you did, and this might be an interesting one. You helped this company transform from a brand standpoint and I bet a lot of that had to do with face to face conversations with your CFO and your Head of Sales and all these people. Can you imagine trying to go through that process today virtually?

Ed Rusch: Oh yeah, not at all. I think the obstacles would almost be too formidable to overcome. There wouldn’t be the opportunity to build that those relationships, have those key strategic discussions, and even build the political capital with your colleagues early on in order to help make it happen. It is fortuitous that this was not happening during the beginning stages of my career here.

Drew Neisser: Well, and let’s go back then. I think political capital is such an interesting thing and I’ve had this conversation with many CMOs: Which problem do you solve first? The demand problem or the brand problem? I think I recall that one of the ways that you gained some political capital, correct me if I’m wrong, was to get some early successes? I hope I’m not making that up.

Ed Rusch: Oh no you’re not. I think as a general rule, keep it focused and keep it simple related to where you can find some wins quickly. Wins and value have a tendency to build upon themselves over time and then you get the compound effect of the bigger picture that you’re starting to pull together. I think there’s a level of embracing an iterative process along the way that comes with that that helps me be successful in that transformation as opposed to trying to do too many big bang moves all at once.

Drew Neisser: Do you remember what some of those quick wins were that helped you get the political capital?

Ed Rusch: Yeah, absolutely. So, you talked about the brand side or the demand side. My answer to that is “both.” At the end of the day, the good brand drives demand, so it’s really a demand problem. If you have a great brand experience but no demand, it’s irrelevant. One of the misconceptions that had generally been thought to be true within our function, or within our company when I started, was that construction is solely a handshake personal business. The only way buyers would be comfortable purchasing technology in this industry is doing business with people that they’ve built a relationship with, can shake their hand, look them in the eye and develop that trust over a certain period of time.

Drew Neisser: As you’re talking about that, it’s so amazing because, at this moment, you couldn’t do any of those things. But now I remember our conversation completely, thank you for that little reminder and that was why I wanted to get you on the show. You were in an industry where the entire sales team was used to going on to the construction companies in a good old boy sort of way. And I’m sure there were women involved too but this is the way the business has always been done and I seem to recall that you were able to drive leads instead through content marketing and other things and ultimately ended up with a significant number of leads. That was how you sort of help people go, “Oh wait, this could work!”

Ed Rusch: Yes, absolutely. I spent 15 years doing B2B marketing in industrial industries and it was the story at my previous leadership role as well: “Our industry is different. They still do business this way, despite everyone else doing business that way.” So, when I came on, there weren’t clear calls to action on the website, there wasn’t a single form for anybody to fill out. There wasn’t a chat feature. There wasn’t even a contact me button. It was a directory with phone numbers, some office locations, and some very basic rudimentary brochure-like pieces of information.

Drew Neisser: I think I figured out the secret to see your success, start with a very low bar.

Ed Rusch: That’s part of it.

Drew Neisser: Wow. I imagine that those things probably produced some immediate results.

Ed Rusch: Yes, so, again, there was this huge brand opportunity, huge messaging opportunity, huge content strategy opportunity. You could spend months figuring all that out, but why spend months figuring that out and not taking action on things that you can literally do within a couple of hours? Change “read more to contact me” deploy forms, add in a quick chat feature. Get folks that were on the team at the time trained on interacting via chat. Crazy enough, just within the first few hours of deploying some of those fundamental one-on-one type capabilities, people interacted with those digital channels. They reached out, drove leads, and within the first 24 hours, there were already things with dollars being put into the pipeline from the sales team that got those qualified leads handed over.

Drew Neisser: So, you do that and then that people go, “This guy knows what he’s talking about. Look, we’re getting leads in here and those leads are going to turn into revenue.” What were some of the bigger steps after that? Because that’s certainly the low hanging fruit that built some political capital. What’s next?

Ed Rusch: The next thing to say is “okay with where we’re at and what we’ve done today, it’s only going to take us so far.” Then you put the business case together to say, “We can drive a certain tempo of the demand engine inside of marketing, create a certain tempo and a certain throughput of dollars based on a level of scale and sophistication that we can get to. That’s then going to pay for itself in a reasonably short period of time. Part of the early steps was not only creating those channels for prospective customers to interact with us digitally, but also then putting in place the ability to capture KPIs around it so you can go back to the CFO, you can go back to the CEO, and actually say, “Here are cool things that are happening, but if we model this out much like a sales team would model out a market opportunity, from a functional perspective with a clear ROI return on marketing investment, it’s a sound business investment, to continue to grow and nurture those things that you’ve started. So that was phase two.

Drew Neisser: Okay. And it sounds like while you were able to increase the pipeline and do all those good things at some point in time, there was a decision to sort of update the brand, right? That’s a big step. Did they ask, “Why do we need to do that? It ain’t broken, why do we need to fix it?”

Ed Rusch: How did you know they asked me that question? Part of the attraction for this opportunity as well was because I wasn’t just starting at a basic level. It was because of what the company was genuinely trying to do from a change perspective, not only for us as a function, but also for the industry. What we’re trying to do was pull intercompany value from a supply chain perspective through to construction, where traditionally we’ve offered point solutions to individual customers that acted within that broader supply chain. It was and is and remains an ambitious goal that we have as a company.

If we weren’t going to invest in our ability to articulate that story really well and capture the attention of the market and the buyers that were yearning for that type of solution, all those things we were doing from a product and platform perspective were going to be for naught. We needed those provocative moments in time to be differentiated and get people’s attention about who we were as a company that they otherwise never would have given us if we were maintaining the status quo.

Drew Neisser: Give me an example of “provocative” and something that you did that helped get the brand some attention.

Ed Rusch: It was around disrupting the way the business was done in the way that we defined it for the previous 40 years. We have a leading position on all these heavy materials. All our technology systems are the way most of those materials in the US are produced and delivered and it was all very much reliant on having an automated process within a company. All this data was sitting in our systems, so we printed it out on this five-part paper form on dot-matrix printers and gave it to a driver in a truck who then distributed the copies of this information to all the other actors at the project job site. They all took their pens and put little notes on their yellow version or their pink version or their white version and then everyone fat-fingered all this information back into their respective systems and we created that reality.

Drew Neisser: Now I just want to acknowledge that I’m really hoping I have some listeners that have no idea what a dot-matrix printer is. It goes back there with a horse and buggy. Anyway, we’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, we’ll talk about how you move from horse and buggy and dot-matrix printers to a new all-digital all-cloud all-the-time supply chain management. So, stay with us.

BREAK

Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. Ed, I wanted to help folks understand some of the critical steps that you had to take internally in order to get buy-in. You’re talking about a product transformation, but you’re also talking about a new mindset for the organization because you’re also trying to get your customers to do business differently. That’s a lot of change and you have a lot of people bring along with it, both internally and externally. What were some of the key steps that you took that helped with not only transforming your business but transforming the way your customers do business?

Ed Rusch: Right before the break, we were talking about how we had been training the industry for over 40 years on how to do business. We were the ones that were coming back to them to say there’s a better way of doing business than what we’ve created together for the last 40 years. That is not an easy feat, and we needed to have a compelling story to keep all those interactions digital and have digital collaboration amongst all the people that are involved in creating the universe around us. It really started with creating some aha moments inside of our company. I would ask my peers on the executive team, “If you had to describe what our company is and seven words or less or capture the essence of what our company is, what is that?” and, “If you had to do it in less than 30 seconds, how would you respond?” Then we more broadly surveyed the workforce from the managerial leaders all the way through to every role or function that wanted to participate using similar questions. What kind of company do you work for? How would you describe what it is that we do?  Then, most importantly, we went out and talked to our customers and had that same level of engagement in regards to how they understood us as a company. There was an ENPS Net Promoter Score effort that was part of that. I think the first enlightenment was the lack of continuity in any of the responses among anybody.

Drew Neisser: Let’s pause there for a second. I want to remind the listeners that if they go to renegade.com and click on the banner, they’re going to find the B2B Brand Strategy Guide and in that it talks about the need for doing employee surveys and getting it so that all your employees can actually describe the company in eight words or less. This is the power of having a purpose-driven story statement and what’s so interesting about what you did is that not only did you ask employees, but you got the executive team together and they couldn’t describe the company in seven—I give people eight—words or less. After that, of course, comes talking to your customers to understand their satisfaction, but also to get a sense of their understanding of the brand and what they think of you. NPS is an aspect of that. I think there are a lot of other measures that are relevant. When you got to this process, what were the seven words or less? What was the summary statement of your discovery?

Ed Rusch: Where we settled, and it’s the one that we use today that’s been wildly and vastly embraced throughout all our people, is: “Together we build amazing.”

Drew Neisser: Together we build amazing. All right, I’m going to just break this down the way I do for our clients. This is what Renegade does, by the way. We come up with this kind of thing and do all this research. First of all, with “together” you get “we’re united,” it’s a clear embracing of employees, customers, and community if you will. That’s a great word, and then you have “we” just reinforcing that it’s not about us, it’s about the team. “Build” is a nice reference to your construction industry and then there’s this aspirational goal: “Let’s do something amazing.” That hits a lot of buttons in terms of trying to build an effective purpose-driven story statement. I’m curious because one of the litmus tests for this kind of thing is how you activated against that. In other words, how did you make that promise real?

Ed Rusch: The “together” as you understood, it’s true. The other element or essence of that word was bringing together all the people on a project so that they could do more together than they could on their own and the shared prosperity when they’re working collaboratively with digital tools in order to do more with less. Part of the reinforcement of that story was not just the “we and us” in partnership with our customers and the community, but more specifically, it pointed to our collaboration platform and the technology products that underpinned the capability for people to actually do amazing as a result of how we’re carrying out these projects in an orchestrated way.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, you snuck in a product story in the middle of your purpose-driven story statement. Together we build because it’s about collaboration and your collaboration platform, so as you rolled this thing out, how did you make sure that your employees actually understood what it meant?

Ed Rusch: In conjunction with this statement, we had a reimagined brand celebration. From a leadership perspective, I didn’t want to be the new person coming in and saying, “This is so much better than what you had in the past, but you’ve been a really successful company for the 43 years you existed prior to Ed Rusch ever showing up and being part of the team.” I don’t mean that to sound negative. I actually mean it in a very positive way, because one of the things I wanted to be cognizant of is all the good things that existed that allowed me to start day one with a great foundation to build from.

We talked about it from a reimagined brand perspective because we weren’t throwing out all old, we were actually building on the leading position we had in the market and moving it forward. It was ultimately described as a pivot or an Act II in the story of our company. Part of helping tell this story was actually going through and finding customer heroes and having our story be a collection of their success stories, of how they’ve used technology and construction to transform their businesses. To bring all our employees together we had a big kickoff party at the Concert Hall here in Birmingham for our headquarters constituents, and we repeated that with a live telecast through the various offices that we have throughout the world. We had an introduction of the story, a big toast to where we’ve been, built a lot of enthusiasm for where we’re going as a team, and equipped everyone with the resources and the background and the pocket guides about this new story that we were trying to tell so they could go out there and talk to the customers in the market with the confidence that we needed them to have.

Drew Neisser: Again, as you’re listing off these things I’m thinking, boy, if you were about to do a brand launch right now, you’d just have to put the thing on hold. A lot of the things that you’ve just described you couldn’t do in today’s environment. Timing’s everything and certainly you’ve been able to do it. I’m going to go back a bit. I love the expression “together we build amazing.” I love the fact that amazing sets a very high bar. It could definitely be inspirational and if something isn’t amazing, that’s a pretty quick litmus test and there’s a lot of dimensions of that. The one thing that I’m always worried about with great language like this is that it’s just words, and your customer stories are certainly one of the ways to show that it isn’t just words, but I’m wondering if there were any other things that you did to make this true. I’ll give you an example. Are employees suddenly compensated differently because this is about collaboration and teamwork and doing amazing things? Are we now going to include in our evaluation how we’re getting closer to amazing? The language is great, but it also begs the question, what are you doing to make it real?

Ed Rusch: Yes, I think there are three different dimensions that make it real. Part of it is the end results of the projects that our customers and our technologies are used to build. For example, you have that super neat ship looking dome stadium in Minnesota that the Vikings play in, you have the Apple campus out in California, you have the Burj Khalifa there in the Middle East. Those are testaments to building amazing because those are signature projects that are outcomes of what we do. That’s the easy one, highlighting those projects. Secondly, from a KPI or value perspective, it’s pretty amazing on the inverse that the second largest industry on the planet is 21 out of 22 industries ranked from a technology and digitization perspective. The amazing is also in the transformative results that happen when you can actually adopt technology and making a meaningful impact on productivity. The more productive the industry is, the more output everyone in the communities that they serve realize as a result. Just 3% productivity increases in the construction would, for example, fund 2500 new schools being built. The amazing is also the impact our industry can have on communities.

Drew Neisser: As we think about this and start to put a nice bow on this, I’m curious if there was a point when you thought, “This is really going to work.” What were some of the signals that told you this is going well?

Ed Rusch: If you had to have one measurement, it’s adoption. Adoption of the platform that builds community because you need community within the industry in order to collaborate.

Drew Neisser: So, your sense of that the number of suppliers that are working that are on the platform, that you’ve created this ecosystem all on the platform. That the success of that is, ultimately, business success. I’m wondering if there are any measurements from a marketing standpoint. There’s always the anecdote of a customer talking to the CEO and saying, “I really like that language” or something where you know they finally feel the power of marketing. Was there a moment like that?

Ed Rusch: Yeah, absolutely. We’re taking this digital story out to customers and there are big opportunities now that we’re having with different audiences, with the customers that are the buyers of larger enterprise type opportunities. We were in a meeting having a discussion with a big regional operator, a multi-million-dollar opportunity and we initially came in through the historic lens of a point solution, which was telematics in the truck. Then, because we’re getting really good at the next level of opportunity where you plug those point solutions into the platform, it unlocks a whole new dimension of value that you can’t get otherwise. We’re slaying those paper tickets that we helped create over decades. So we started showing them the power of the collaborative platform, how we were able to take information from the systems and connect the dots about their operations in a way that they couldn’t themselves. You could just see the light bulb moments trigger throughout the room. In fact, the CEO of this organization was part of the meeting, and he started texting away on his phone, so our sales leader was sitting there thinking, “Oh gosh, we’ve lost them already.” But what he was really doing was texting the CFO and saying, “Get in here. This is the type of information that I’ve been asking for a long time, and it looks like now we can finally get it. to I understand the essence of this ‘together we build amazing’ thing that you’re describing. It’s a lot more powerful than I would have imagined, but now that I’ve seen it, it’s transformative.”

Drew Neisser: Great. We started with COVID and the challenges that it’s creating for your workforce and how you’re working to overcome them. We then spoke quite a bit about the business transformation that you all went on to provide point-to-point solutions. It’s really a platform that ultimately builds a community of suppliers and buyers if you will. You have the new purpose-driven story statement of “together we build amazing.” Now here we are in March 2020, and suddenly a number of things are going to need to change. You can’t do events. I’m wondering as we wrap up the show if the lessons that you learned from this experience are going to help you as you deal with the new challenges ahead. I don’t know if this is an easy question or even an answerable question but maybe start with the biggest lessons that you learned from this business transformation and brand transformation.

Ed Rusch: I think it’s eating our own dog food to an extent. I’m a CMO in a B2B space and I’ve been focused in the supply chain world for 15 years. I think taking the supply chain principles that serve companies well and then realizing there’s a place within the marketing world to learn what high performing supply chains do, you can use those same things to be successful from a marketing perspective. Now, more than ever, it’s important that supply chains are rapidly adaptable, can respond to new information quickly, and can give everyone the same sort of trustworthy information to work from at the same time so that all these moving parts can remain highly orchestrated. Don’t you want those same capabilities within your marketing function? To be able to learn from new information and adapt quickly? Don’t rigidly go on some nine-month plan that you developed three months ago. The world changed, that plan is no longer any good, so be okay to adapt it. How do you get the right information, the correct information into the hands of all the people within the marketing function in a way that they can all act in unison together whether we’re all in the same office or working out of campers and apartments and libraries hundreds of miles away? That’s really what I’m learning, marrying marketing and my supply chain knowledge together.

Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. Well, I think I can attempt to summarize where we’ve been and what this means for all of you. You have got to have a good brand. If you don’t have a good brand, it’s going to be a problem, and obviously your brand story and your product story need to come together. If you’re trying to transform an industry, you need to transform internally. That’s one of the things that I talk about because we’re asking our customers to become digital. Well, we need to do the same. Now, looking ahead, whatever plan you had, you have to throw it out the window. I think to some extent that’s true, and if you had a heavy event plan or direct-mail-to-the-office plan or something like that, it’s going to be problematic. It’s funny, we were talking with a client about doing an outdoor purchase where we would buy near the headquarters, even though it was B2B, but it would definitely get the attention of a very large client. Well, that’s probably not going to work right now. Anyway, this is a time that really requires some nimble agility. You know, if you don’t have a strong digital muscle, well, you’re going to earn it now, although I think there are a lot of people out there who have it. We’re going to do more episodes on what to do with your event dollars, where those are going to go. Ed, thank you so much for being on the show.

Ed Rusch: Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it.

Drew Neisser: To the listeners, thank you. I’m grateful that you spent this time with us and, as always, you know how to get ahold of me. If you have ideas on what you’re going to do with your event dollars, let me know. You can find us at renegade.com and my email is there. Until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong and stay safe out there.

 

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