Podcast | 01 May, 2024

Episode 8: The Language of Influencers: Exploring the Evolution of Digital Marketing with Keith Bendes

Lisa Spira


Lisa Spira

VP of Content Intelligence at Persado

Keith Bendes


Keith Bendes

VP of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Linqia

In this episode of “Motivation AI Matters,” host Lisa Spira delves into the elusive world of influencer marketing with guest Keith Bendes, VP of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Linqia. Together, they explore the evolution of influencer marketing, the essence of brand partnerships, and the crucial role of language in crafting authentic messages that resonate with audiences. From understanding the dynamics of influencer-brand collaborations, to the transformative impact of AI on content creation, they unpack the power of storytelling, emotional connection, and human creativity in driving business outcomes. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C marketing, this conversation offers valuable insights into leveraging language, technology, and human ingenuity to inspire action and build meaningful connections with your audience.

Episode Transcript:


Welcome to Motivation AI Matters, a podcast designed to help you channel the power of language to inspire action. I’m Lisa Spira here to explore the language that drives business outcomes through the lens of what makes that language good because words matter.


Today’s guest is Keith Bendes, VP of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Linqia. Keith is a leading voice in influencer marketing and the creator economy. He works with the world’s leading brands to drive business impact through the power of influencers as I understand it.


This work is at the intersection of marketing, technology and being human. I’m excited to learn more about how language and AI play a role in influencer marketing.


Welcome Keith.


Thank you. Thanks for having me.


This is an interesting discussion. Excited to have it.


Yeah, this is different than anything that I’ve learned about before on this podcast. Hopefully this is great for the audience too.


Let’s start with the basics. What is influencer marketing?


We could definitely 101 it. So at a high level influencer marketing is brands trying to influence the end consumers through partnerships with influential voices.


So the last 10 years, we’ve seen a huge emergence of these influential voices primarily on social media.


We had the blogging era a decade plus ago, then the rise of Instagram in the last decade and then just in the last few years, this rise of short form video through tiktok obviously now real shorts, et cetera.


So you have these massively influential voices, not just at a celebrity mega level but very niche micro communities.


And we probably all experience it in our weird nuanced tastes when we’re on the Instagram and tiktok.


And in each one of those interest groups, you have influential voices and they really do dictate culture and dictate engagement and dictate conversation.


So, influencer marketing really is brands partnering with those influential voices to distribute messages through those communities.


And how did you get involved in this?


That is a good question. So I worked on the brand side for many years. I was at Unilever, which is obviously a massive multi-brand CPG company.


I went into consulting afterwards and did a lot of consulting on Martech and where investments were going from a marketing lens.


And a lot of brands were asking me to dig into this newer influencer marketing space and find out who are the players, what is the potential impact, how much money should be invested in over time.


And as I started mapping that space, it became very clear, this is the future of marketing.


And so I spoke to a number of companies who are operating in this space, really fell in love with Linqia, which is where I am now and I joined almost five years ago. So it’s been a good half decade so far.




And I think for many people that will be surprising because I don’t think a lot of people have been aware of influencer marketing for five years.


Well, it’s interesting, we were talking about how we have the Creator Economy live podcast. And my co-host has been doing this in the creator economy for over a decade, well over a decade.


And as I got deeper into the industry, I learned there are people who have been doing this for many decades.


So the idea of branded influencer marketing feels newer, but this whole creator economy has been around for longer than people probably think.


And what does Linqia do in this space if you think about the broader creator economy, this is everything servicing creators and most of the venture capital over the last decade plus has gone into the servicing of creators within that you have what you refer to as influencer marketing, which is where Linqia plays in.


So that truly is the brand partnership space of that broader creator economy.


So Linqia as a company, our entire premise and role is to help partner brands find partner, engage, activate measure influencers and creators in a brand partnership.


So that really is the role of Linqia. It’s a very noisy, crowded crazy market. So you probably see our tagline is Calm In The Chaos.


Our mission is to make this much simpler for brands to understand how to find the right creators to work with, how to work with them, how to measure them, et cetera. But we’re all on influencer marketing, brand partnership side. That’s where Linqia plays.


So to understand this space a little bit better, you can be an influencer but not have anything to do with any brands.


You just have influence in some community and people follow whatever you say or you can be a brand that is putting out marketing in the traditional channels.


But then there’s this intersection where the brand partners with the influencer. And so the influencer is speaking on behalf of the brand or maybe they’re not, what does that partnership look like?


It’s co-branded, it is really what it comes down to.


So if you think about current culture and influence consumers don’t really want to hear from brands, they just don’t.


And so they want to hear from fellow consumers, fellow parents, fellow financial experts, whoever it is, right?


And so in a brand partnership with an influencer, creator, it should be a co branding exercise where the creator influencer has a brand themselves, the brand has a brand themselves.


Ideally, those missions and personas are aligned, but you’re co creating together.


It’s not an influencer, picking up this Hydro Flask and saying, I love Hydro Flask.


It’s more about, let’s say an environmentally friendly influencer who working with Hydro Flask to educate the market on waste and plastics and how it’s so important to use water bottles and like actual bottles and not to use plastics. Like that is a good partnership.


And so you’re seeing influencers and brands get very creative with how they partner together and how the partnership is much deeper than just a product recommendation.


So if it’s additive to the creator and it’s additive to the brand, that’s where the magic of this industry stems from.


I think too often if you don’t know the industry and you hear the word influence marketing, which by the way is why a lot of them want to be called creators, not influencers.


But we could talk about that in a bit.


When you hear the word influence marketing, you do think sometimes that icky product promotion, but that’s not really what it has become about.


At least quality partnerships.


That’s a perfect segue because I was about to ask you, what is the difference between creator and influencer language matters?


Is that what you said in your opening?


So some of this I think is just perception, the way we see it is everybody is a creator, everyone is some creators have wide reach meaning followings, some have influence by the way, not everybody who has reach, has influence and some just create cool content.


And as a brand you’re constantly looking at who is the right partner.


Is it somebody who has influence and therefore you’re working with them for their influence or is it someone who just creates cool content?


And as a brand, we all know this as marketers, we need way more content that we can actually produce ourselves and we can’t do that really through creative agencies.


It’s way too expensive.


So there’s become this whole what we call CGC. It’s not really UGC, it’s CGC. Creator generated content, which is more people with very low followings who just create cool stuff that could post versus people who are creators who have actual influence and audiences and you’re working with them to engage that audience.


So the way we say it is everyone’s a creator, some have influence, some are just great at content, but the art of influence or marketing definitely still exists.


And that’s why sometimes you get confused if I keep hearing influence or I keep hearing creator, I don’t think it matters. What matters is what type of partner, what type of content you need, whether it’s somebody with a following without we figure that out later.


That shouldn’t be the first thing you think.


I do think about those words and I think about how, as a creator, you might be striving to be an influencer because that sounds really great.


Look how powerful you are or maybe that’s the opposite of everything you want in your life. You’re just making cool stuff.


So I could see it being very aspirational or off-putting just from the word itself.


Well, Mr Beast is one of the most famous and I would argue he is a creator. He started for the art of creation and he continues to do it for the art of creation. But Mr Beast has more influence than most governments do.


He has built influence through his art. And I think a lot of creators are doing that.


And so whether they like the designation influencer or not, they are highly influential with their communities.


At Persado our platform helps brands find the right language to send, to motivate action, but to send as themselves directly from the brand as an email, SMS, social message or any other channel.


And we’re constantly striving to perfectly align the language that our AI creates with the brand’s voice, the way they define it. So to that end, I wanted to ask you a bit about your experience with brand voice in the world of influencer marketing. How does brand voice play a role when a brand is working with an influencer?


Wow, that’s a great question. I’ve mentioned this before. The brand has a voice and the creator has a voice. The creator sometimes no offense to the brands is a better branding expert than the brand does. Sometimes that’s why they built this following.


What is the art of finding the creators whose tone of voice and style and aesthetic has overlapped with the brands.


And that’s a big part of what we’re doing is finding the right partners.


The second layer of this, back to your words matter and how you use tech, there is a brief that is developed that goes to the creators that brief and the language in that brief is very important.


And so just like brands are using tools to draft their own press releases and their own social posts, you’re using tools to draft these briefs and to make sure that your tone of voice and your aesthetic comes through in that brief so that the creator could understand what you stand for and then properly represent the language and the tone in the content that they produce.


So some of it is making sure it’s the right partner to begin with.


Some of it is making sure no different than the emails or the press releases that the brief that the creator gets is written in the right way. So that is an art in briefing.


That is one of the most important elements of creator partnerships.


I never thought about that about how to make your brief sound like you.


That’s so interesting. Have you seen creators stretch a brand’s voice per se?


If this partnership has gone on for a long time, maybe a brand opens up to a different style a bit.




Most people who are in this industry, anytime you go to an event, the number one thing people say is let creators be creators. Don’t be too prescriptive, let them do what they do best let them take your brand to new heights.


Part of the reason you’re doing this as a brand, unless it’s a celebrity spokesperson, which that tactic has been around for decades and decades.


I used to work in sports marketing where it was all about your singular hero influencer, so to speak, but it really was celebrity when you’re doing scaled influencer marketing or creative marketing.


Part of what you’re trying to prove to yourself is that in the wild, we could see creative content, we wouldn’t have otherwise, if we had our hands on every button producing that resonates with our consumer set.


And so by nature, you’re encouraged to try to let the creators be the creators and take on the message themselves and take you to different places because what I tell most brands is you don’t own your brand anymore.


That’s just the reality of the world we live in today.


You help guide the voice and the aesthetic of your brand, but the consumers own that brand.


And so you have to get used to giving up control that you used to hold very tight.


If you want any success in a socially driven world, the creator is the tip of the spear where you have to let them do what they know best.


There’s a reason they have a bigger following than you as a brand, trust their instincts on what they should be doing.


But every brand has a legal and compliance department, every brand has bosses that they answer to.


You know, every brand has a brand book that they’re supposed to follow with a visual brand identity.


So how you balance those two is part of the art?


Yeah, it’s great to be able to recognize that a creator has done something successfully that a brand hasn’t and be able to stretch.


Do you have any examples of maybe unusual partnerships that ended up working out really well?


Most of the ones that are happening right now are unusual partnerships. Even brand collabs.


Look at April fools that was a master class in creative brand marketing. You’ve seen so many cool things happening.


The whole tiktok cruise that took off in the beginning of this year were Atria books who would have put Atria books as the main voice in a tiktok conversation.


But they did that really interesting partnership with Marc Sebastian where he read a book on the cruise to everybody.


So there’s been so many interesting ones. You look at CeraVe, the Michael Cera partnership blew up but they did that amazing with Haley Khalil.


Even you look at some of the things that are less creator focused, but that brands are doing lately.


What was the Liquid Death Elf Cosmetics Partnership a few weeks ago where it was all black and white skeletal looking.


There’s brilliant marketing happening and the ones that cut through are very unique and different.


And we had the old Head of Social of Ryanair on our Creator Economy Live Podcast last week and talk about a brand doing stuff that most brands would look at and say there’s no way I’m doing this and they’re one of the most followed brands on social media.


Look at what Duolingo is doing. So content that cuts differently, that feels unique is what plays well.


So if you’re just running the same playbook as every other brand, you’re creating content for yourself more than you’re creating it for your audience.


That’s a good point. I think a lot of brands are creating content for themselves.


What are brands most afraid of when they think about partnering with an influencer, there’s always an element of just with legal regulatory, especially if you’re a highly regulated brand of just doing something mistaken or wrong.


The FTC is cracking down on this, they have updated guidelines.


So that’s one big element is just legally doing something wrong. And that’s why you have partners. Part of why we exist as a company is because we stay on top of that. We understand that we track it, we monitor it.


The other half of it is what you saw as an example of Bud Light and Dylan Mulvaney is just a partnership goes wrong because of the creator you partnered with or in that case, I don’t think Dylan did anything wrong, but there are also fears that the creator does something wrong later on or in the partnership that then reflects poorly as a brand.


So I think those are the two biggest fears. The first one I think is more in brands heads than is the reality.


The FTC has guidelines. There’s thousands and thousands of brands doing creative marketing and influencer marketing today, there’s a million proof points on how to do it right.


I think it’s the fear of the unknown more than it is the reality of the risk.


And most of the time if something were to go wrong, the worst case is you pull the post down. It’s really not that big of a deal.


And then the second one, I just think brands have to get over it.


There’s a lot of cases where almost every brand is going to go through something on social unless you have no opinion at all.


In which case again, you’re not going to cut through and not matter if you have any opinion of any kind on any subject in the world, you will have some people who like it and some people who don’t.


And so as a brand, you just have to get over this notion that if a creator does something wrong, that somehow tarnishes your brand forever, it doesn’t, it doesn’t.


Creators will do things right. Creators do things wrong, brands will do things right.


Brands will do things wrong as long as you know what your principles are and you stick to your guiding principles and you react and have communication that’s effective, which I love the Bud Light team, but not the best communication after the fact which they probably made it worse.


These things are fleeting.


And I just don’t think it’s as big of a deal, but those to me are the biggest two risks brands see, is FTC and then creators doing something wrong.


So you said that one of the reasons to really trust the creator or the influencer is this proof point that they have this following.


They know how to create something that people want because you could see it in their number of followers or engagements or something.


And I’m really interested in the data side of marketing. But I imagine measuring communication sent directly from the brand like we do at Persado is really different from measuring the success of a brand partnering with an influencer.


So either in your experience or at Linqia, what is your success metric for a partnership?


There’s a bunch of ways to answer that. I think the highest level order one is measured the same way you measure everything else. So a lot of marketing is measured on an MTA or an MMM model.


And influencer marketing can be measured actually in the exact same way, whether it’s through Nielsen newstar, Ipsos, whatever you’re measuring with the best thing you could do is if a CMO is sitting down and looking at the ecosystem of marketing investment from TV to radio, to social, that influencer is a part of that analysis.


So some of what we’re doing is working with brands to make sure they are measuring on the same plane as literally everything else.


A lot of that happens in media though.


So even when you say brands, when it comes from their own accounts, most of the value at scale is when they’re putting media behind those things.


In your example, when a brand creates content and posts it on their own channels, they’re oftentimes promoting that through paid media and that’s where their metrics are coming from.


The same thing happens on the creator side, the creators are posting content, brand is putting media behind that content to bring it to more eyeballs and they’re measuring the effectiveness of that content versus their own branded content.


Now, when you say, well, what do you mean versus that could be on click through rates, engagement rates.


CP MS view through rates and of the media metrics that are most important to a brand and what we see consistently 9.9999 out of 10 times is that creator content from a creator’s handle in paid promotion, vastly outperforms brand content from the brand’s handle in paid promotion.


So it isn’t an or it’s not like you just drop all of your brand creative and just only work with creators. It’s a both.


But if you’re talking about what is most engaging and effective with consumers, it’s going to be the creator content pretty much every time.


Is there any way to measure what it is about the creator content?


I ask this because at presotto, we measure words down to individual words and phrases.


We have these testing methodologies to see exactly what type of words, certain types of impressions or different types of campaigns or channels generate the highest engagement.


Is there any way to dig into what the creator does and say if they speak like this or maybe it’s images.


But to say, well, when they do this type of thing, it works better than that.


I would say first, you could do the exact same analysis as you just mentioned on the brand side as the creator side.


So whatever you’re doing from a word identification standpoint, you could do on the creator side.


And then I would encourage anyone who’s using Braat to do it on the brand side to pump the same creator content into that engine, to discover what works well and keep in mind a lot of the creator content that’s posted the brands, get the rights to it and then they post it themselves on their own handle.


So you could do all the same analysis.


Now we do a lot of something called narrative mapping with brands, narrative mapping says let’s take an X and Y axis or just a rows and columns on the columns, put every one of the messages you can say is a brand, the important messages.


If you ask a brand manager, why is your brand great?


They’re going to give you what 100 reasons why they’re better put the 100 reasons down, tastes great, less filling, environmentally friendly, fast acting, whatever it is, put them all down, then on your rows, put all of your audience segments, you might be targeting Hispanics, you might be targeting Gen X and Boomers. You might be targeting millennial African Americans, whatever it is, put them down.


What we usually like to ask is how many of these cells do you actually have content for? if you said fast acting and Hispanics, do you have a piece of content that features a Hispanic person or group talking about fast acting? If you don’t, let’s go get that.


And if you populate that grid, your question of what is working is less individual phrasing and sentencing and it’s more core message with that Hispanic audience.


Is it about taste? Is it the fast acting? Is it the environmentally friendly? Like what is it that they’re responding to? And do we know that answer for each of the individual audience segments you have?


So to do that effectively, you need one, the content that is customized to all of those messages and audiences and then two the measurement wherewithal to actually start grading those things and getting results.


So we only will test things where we can look at a brand and say if we tell you A is better than B you will act on that information.


We don’t want to give you data just for the sake of data.




And I imagine that a lot of brands when they map all that out, they realize that the grid squares don’t actually even make any sense. Don’t go after some of these.


100%. Influencer Marketing is just as much visual as it is language centric.


That’s the nature of these platforms and the channels of consumption today.


So when I ask about an influencer communication strategy, I manage and it goes well beyond words and phrases and sentences.


It’s just so much more inclusive.


But are there patterns specific towards and how they’re used by brand influencers or techniques that work best?


Is that a data point that can exist?




And this is where the AI discussion gets really interesting.


There are all these classes and experts on how to create great hooks and how to create great thumbnails because this stuff matters. It matters intensely.


What I usually say to most creators is this authenticity is all that matters if you do something for the sake of driving quick views and clicks and whatever and it feels inauthentic to the brand you’re building because keep in mind creators post ungodly amounts every week.


This is your job, this is your life. If you are not loving and enjoying every minute of it, you will not last more than a month or two. So no tricks in the book will ever get you there.


They’re gonna follow you ultimately over a very long period of time because your message resonates and because you’re very authentic and because they like your style and they like you all the tricks in the world don’t get caught up with them.


If that’s going to then ruin your actual brand and authenticity.


But yes, there are tricks.


The AI discussion that I mentioned is very interesting is this if all of the AI tools now are gonna get you those tips and tricks and get you to the point of the highest engaged style of content.


Now, well, then the creator who then shifts is gonna win because everything is gonna look like a sea of saying this and then the creator will shift that style of content will start winning.


All other creators will start doing that.


The AI will recognize that and we’re all gonna go to this next style of content.


But as everything feels the same, it will get ruined.


If you look at Mr Beast again two or three weeks ago, he came out saying let’s all move away from this short form, quick cut action pack style of content and go for longer, more drawn out more story scenes.


He is the one who made short form, quick cut famous. So even he is recognizing everything is now coming to this for all the AI systems to generate content.


Everything is making it look the exact same I need to move in a different direction if I’m going to stand out and be unique.


So AI is gonna be a really interesting story here.How far does it lag the indicators? And then by the time everyone is using it, does it matter?


Because then that style now becomes out of fashion because you’re all doing the exact same thing.


It sounds to me like AI is augmenting human nature here because before AI, I would expect that we would have the same wave of this happening, but slower if I want to be a creator and you’re a successful creator, I’m going to do exactly what you’re doing and everybody is going to do that.


So that’s what happens anyway. And then someone goes, oh no, everyone sounds like me. I’m going to do something different.


So in a way, perhaps AI has just sped up this process of sameness. Is that true?


I do think it’s true. I think it’s absolutely true.


I think it’s just going to happen much faster and it’s going to make it so that anybody can mimic and do that style today.


You still have to have really strong content creation and production skills and understanding the tool sets to go build posts that look like the best creators and I will just make that insanely easier to accomplish.


So I think it will shorten the time and make it so that more people can do it now.


Just the way that in AI, everybody talks about prompt engineers in that this is creating a new class of engineers that maybe it’s not the coding at the basic level that’s needed.


Maybe it’s the prompting that’s needed.


I think the same thing is somewhat true of content and copywriting is it’s not that these people who do all this work today are irrelevant.


Their skill set just changes to being prompt, writers and prompt scripts and prompt the version of engineer, replace the word engineer with whatever you want.


So it still requires a really deep understanding of storytelling and language because even if a computer is driving the production, you are the one telling the story if I was a director in movies and I didn’t need to do these comprehensive expensive shoots because I could just type prompts into the AI.


That doesn’t mean I don’t need to understand story and narrative and how the big picture takes shape.


The computer is not going to understand that for me, the computer is going to be an assistant to what I’m trying to accomplish.


Maybe in the long term, it might not, but at least in the next 5 to 10 years, I think it’s mostly going to be the prompting and the prompting is language.


So it’s weird. I used to tell students 5, 10 years ago and they said, what should I study?


I used to say, go study engineering or coding or any of that stuff.


Weirdly these days I’m saying, go study liberal arts, go study language, go study storytelling because that will be the rarest skill in the world in the next 10 years.


You know, it’s funny, I’ve made the exact same transition. I was also telling everybody to study engineering or more math, study data science.


And as someone who works now with a lot of prompt engineers, both technical and non technical, I’m also like, yeah, study language.


So if you’re a creator and you want to be working with AI tools, but you don’t want to sound like everybody else.


What do you do?


I still think that’s where the skill is, the skill is understanding and again, it depends what’s your motivation for being a creator?


If you wake up and you say I just want to find a white space so that I can grow an audience that’s different than I’m insanely passionate about. Fill in the blank. And I’m going to post about it for most people.


I hope it’s the latter. If it’s the former, I question your longevity as a creator, to be honest, I think you have to have an insane passion for something.


So if you have an insane passion for something and you start creating it and then you turn to yourself and say, I want my stuff to look more trendy and viral and native to these platforms.


I think it’s observing what’s happening. And then again, it’s using AI as an assistant cap cut is a great example. That tool is insanely valuable for creators.


There is so much that you could do in there but just like everything in AI, that’s also the problem.


There was so much you could do in there that you still need a creative vision to understand.


So I would say use the tools.


There’s unbelievable AI tools, even tiktok’s creative assistant, you could go in there and type sentences, show me the top performing posts in vitamins and supplements in finance and energy.


And it will say these are the top performing posts. You could say why are these the top performing posts? And it will give you qualities that make them top performing posts.


So I still think it takes a level of research just like anything in life does whether you Google something or ChatGPT something, it takes a level of research, then it takes a level of understanding creative and design because as a creator, you still have to create a brand book and identity for yourself.


And then it’s going and applying that where AI gets very interesting.


Let’s just keep our Mr Beast theme. Why not?


Is if he dumps all of his content into an AI engine and he has hours upon hours of content.


Will he be able to type in commands and not even need to film anything moving forward?


Because they have so much footage of him that he can be captured in a 3d form and then his millions and millions of dollars that he spends on every video.


Does that go away? Because he could just command something?


It still requires the vision of the story and the vision of the end creative. But can he start becoming a commander in a base versus being out on set again?


I don’t think that happens in the near future, but I do think that is what we’re getting closer to and there are elements of it that he will be able to offset, not the whole thing, but elements of it that he will be able to offset.


I agree. And I think that that’s what we’re always telling our clients at Persado that you’re a partner with this AI in driving your own solution.


You need to bring it the idea.


We always start with a control message. You need to bring us the message that it doesn’t have to be perfect.It’s just what you were going to send out, what you were thinking.


And from there, we’re going to use all this data that we have to augment it to create an optimized version that’s going to get clicks or conversions or whatever you said based on all the data that we have and still be in your voice because it’s true.


We have to be very careful too about that sameness.


That’s what gets clicks.


But not everybody can do that or we lose who we are as a brand or whatever message they’re sending.


But ultimately, the human is the partner who says, yeah, I like that. I don’t like that version. This sounds like us. This feels like it’s going to work.


This is something I want to try because it might stretch my brand a little bit and there’s no world yet, at least where all of this is happening without humans in the loop at all as decision makers. And I really don’t see a world where that happens anytime soon.


I tell brands, there are a lot of ways I could give you a spike in sales in the next three weeks that does incredible damage to your brand over the long term and we don’t do it intentionally.


Same thing with everything else you need human eyes to say.


And sometimes you do say I understand this might have less relevance or engagement, but I’m ok with that because it’s more on brand.


It’s better for me over the long term, et cetera. So you need the human in the beginning, you definitely need the human in the end. But the hardest part of doing any content is staring at a blank page.


And what I think AI has done more than anything else is eliminates that need to start with a blank page with the simple command of a one prompt in one prompt.


You can get great ideas. A great starting point. A great outline. You still have to take it from there. But that is magic.


And so for anyone who’s still afraid of the systems, if I’m not technical ChatGPT scares me.


I don’t know what all this Generative AI stuff is.


You’ll be amazed how 10 minutes of experimenting will change your mind. And again, it will still just be an assistant to you.


It will just help you not stare at a blank page in that way, it’s kind of an equalizer because in my experience, the most passionate creators rarely worry about the blank page.


They may not have the full vision, but they have so much they want to say on the topic and just not enough time to like say all of the things or make all of the content.


But for those who are maybe less, I wouldn’t necessarily say less passionate, but maybe less knowledgeable or less immersed in whatever it is that they’re the expert in.


You’ve got that too or maybe it’s the creative side.


It’s just how to translate that into something that can be received by an audience.


Yeah, it takes knowing what the output should look like to be able to use the tools effectively and to your point about language and the importance of language, if you don’t understand what great language looks like and what great content looks like, these tools will not help you because you won’t be able to prompt it to the destination you desire.


And back to me telling students to go study liberal arts, I just find because of how much time we’re spending behind screens and now using AI, the language skills of especially the younger generations are diminishing and it won’t matter how good the AI systems are.


If I put someone in charge of the prompts and the output, who doesn’t understand what good looks like and what great language looks like, they can’t prompt it in the right direction to even get there.


And so back to this prompt, engineer, prompt, writer, et cetera, you really knowing what great storytelling is and you understanding language and reading a lot because that’s half of the battle that to me is more important than the system and the tech you’re using.


Yeah, I agree.


The one thing I’d say is because I also is my job is I lead a marketing team here as well.


And so that is A B2B marketing group. And so we are also a B2B marketer. Every brand is a creator themselves.


We’re A B2B marketer and I think too often B2B professionals don’t adopt enough of the B2C mindset and it’s way too formal in business for the reality of the world we live in.


And so we all as business people are also social media consumers, we also have lives.


We also like to be entertained and educated in all of the things. And so I want B2B companies to also push the bounds of what their brands can represent and be.


And you’re seeing linkedin having a really interesting resurgence right now in growth period where linkedin influencers are now becoming much bigger part of the conversation.


And B2B brands are leveraging influencers in a much bigger way. I think that’s going to be a huge trend.


And back to your question of, are they letting creators take them to new places?


I think for B2B brands that’s going to be especially valuable in the coming years is getting outside of that very corporate lens of how you do B2B marketing and lead-gen marketing and how you actually stand out on these platforms, including the B2B platforms like linkedin.


So I think that will be a really interesting trend and I’m definitely pushing us internally to embrace it.


I have a question about B2B marketing because one of the struggles that we’ve seen with B2B marketing is that at least from a language standpoint, what often works to motivate that response is some sort of emotional language taps into a human emotion, they feel a sense of achievement or they feel special.


They click, but with B2B, they might not be the buyer. They have to ask their boss who has to go through finance and get approvals.


And I think that a lot of what works in consumer marketing can sometimes have to shift in B2B marketing.


Do you have any advice on that aspect of the business structure issue?


Know who your target is, first of all, so the buyer and the end user can be different and it’s not always the buyer that you need.


If you look at a slack, the reason why Slack was so successful is because the end user was the engineer and every engineer who used Slack in any way shape or form would go on to their next company and would scream from the rooftops that I’m not using these crappy systems internally.


We need Slack and so they weren’t targeting the buyer. They were targeting the user and the user pay differently than the buyer.


If it is the buyer, whether it’s procurement, whether it’s finance, whoever it is, I would argue that should be your profile then.


And it’s funny for those who aren’t in procurement and finance have this picture in our mind of who that person is.


Like this stiff person who goes home and watches like finance and procurement content online.


That ain’t what they’re doing like they are consuming content the same way you and I are consuming content, whether I’m in social media or if I’m in accounting, I, I think the perception we have is just really wrong about what these people do and what they enjoy watching.


So I think one is identify the actual target is and you could have multiple targets.


What content will resonate and take action with that person?


And what part of the funnel do you need to be in?


If you have full awareness with your buyer and you’re really trying to drive to sale the language you use is going to be very different than if you have low awareness with the buyer.


And you’re just trying to get them to associate you with some type of expertise.


I’m seeing such creative linkedin influencer partnerships where they have newsletter mentions, they then do a webinar with the brand, they do a series of linkedin posts with research.


It’s not I love this tech, buy this tech here, click for demo.


It’s really interesting research that provides thought leadership that associates the brand with an expert that does have functionality and features and benefits that are being discussed in the nature of the content.


It’s just really authentic and all of those principles are no different in the B to C world.


So I think the language you use is a little bit different.


But I think the principles of how you deliver messaging and the type of messaging you’re delivering are not that different.


We rebranded last year. And if you notice our tagline doesn’t have any mention of the industry we serve.


Our logo is a Starfish, which there’s a whole story behind that back to storytelling of why is it a Starfish?


But there’s a lot of B2C principles in the brand that we’ve rebranded to than the very B2B brand we were and it’s done a lot of good for us.


And I think more brands are going to start understanding and adapting to that.


And by being more B2C, you’re able to reach all of those different personas who are part of the buying process in a way that resonates with them as a person, I would imagine.


Yeah, you said story and emotion again, this is not a unique thing.


Everybody wants story and emotion in any creator influencer club.


We like to say 80 to 90% of what you’re going to say is just straight story, maybe 10% of some product features and benefits.


But the story is the hook for anyone anywhere, any time.


And that’s why if you go on linkedin today versus two or three years ago, there’s a lot more storytelling happening than just straight B2B language happening.


I think it’s a wonderful change.


I think the storytelling is what we’re all looking for, whether we’re selling products or branding or just existing in this world.




So be a storytelling facilitator, whether you’re using tools like perso or any other tool set or any other tactic.


The best thing you could be as a facilitator of the story being told and what a rich place to be in today where you have all of these tools that can help you bring the story that’s in your head to life on the screen.


We’re in such a magical place right now of experimentation and new tool sets that if you are a storyteller, this is kid in a candy shop playground right now where you can test and learn and do great things.


I agree.


I think that’s the perfect note to end on.


Thank you Keith for coming on to our podcast and chatting with me today.


Thanks for having me. Enjoyed the discussion.


Thanks for joining us. We’ll catch you next time here on Motivation AI Matters. Until then, make sure you’re subscribed and learn more about how to find the right language to motivate your customers and how Generative AI makes this possible by checking out the resource library at persado.com.

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