How Branding Improves Your Customer Experience (W/ Joelly Goodson)

How Branding Improves Customer Experience W/ Joelly Goodson

On this episode of Straight Facqts, we’re talking to Joelly Goodson, host of the podcast Branding Matters, and we get into not only why branding matters, but how you can be able to improve your brand and how branding improves customer experience. We’re going to have Joelly give us an introduction to a brand or a cause that she really cares about. And let’s get into it.

Gabe Harris:

Joelly, it’s nice to be able to talk to you. There is something that you are very proud of that you’d like to be able to endorse as well. You are a brand expert, but what’s a brand that you are very interested, passionate and something that is very top of mind for you right now?

Joelly Goodson:

A brand that I’m very passionate about. Are you referring to the charity that I’m involved in, the non-profit? Is that what you’re talking about?

Gabe Harris:


Joelly Goodson:

Okay, well thank you. First of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I always love to share information with people. Gems for Gems is a charity that I’m an observer for and I’ve been ambassador for them for about four years.

And what they are is, it’s a local charity. I’m in Calgary, Canada and it was founded by a woman, Jordan Guildford. And it was to help victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet.

It’s not necessarily a shelter where women go, but once a victim from domestic abuse has left her environment, whether by herself or with her children, Gems for Gems creates these financial initiatives to help them get back on their feet.

“I just felt I wanted to give back and help.”

They have scholarship programs and they have different initiatives to help them. Basically their mission is empower women to empower themselves so they can start a new life and get back on their feet, which is so important.

I had to start over my life back in 2015, but it wasn’t nearly the same as leaving a domestic situation. I just felt I wanted to give back and help. I’ve recently entered this competition. It’s a global competition because the money — I’ve committed to donating $10,000 to Gems for Gems if I do win.

And it’s all over social media and I’m basically asking people to vote. Voting is free and you can vote every 24 hours. And I’ve made it to the top 10, which is in my group, there’s different groups. I’m just reaching out and asking everybody to help me help victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet.

All you have to do is vote every 24 hours and it’s free. That’s what I’m passionate about right now.

Gabe Harris:

Very cool. And to get segue into our branding, that is a very powerful brand messaging point I imagine as well. Something that you’re very passionate about.

If you’re very passionate about something as a company, you should let your audience know about that because it humanizes you, humanizes your brand. And it is something that every brand should aspire to be, to actually be passionate about something because you can scroll through social media and a lot of these companies are just telling you to buy, buy, buy.

But you have no idea what their personality is. You have no idea what their branding is. And a lot of them, they look like they’re very shallow companies as well. They don’t care about you, they care about their profit lines.

The one thing about branding is it’s much more in depth than just being profitable. It’s almost like it is having a deeper connection to your brand or to your audience.

Joelly Goodson: “Branding is the actions that you take to create connections with the people you’re trying to serve.”

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I tell people all the time with my podcast and I bring people on, branding is the actions that you take to create connections with the people you’re trying to serve. Your brand is your personality, it’s who you are, it’s your ethos, it’s your value system.

It’s all the things that make up who you are, whether it’s your personal brand or your corporate brand, business brand. But branding are the actions that you do. It’s your customer service, it’s what you’re doing on social media. It’s how are you adding value on social media? How are you serving again, your audience?

All the actions that you do, that’s your branding and everything from your website to your swag, which is my wheelhouse, right? The kind of merch that you do.

“Branding is an emotional appeal to people.”

All those things, what that’s doing is it’s reinforcing your brand and trying to make connections with the people that you’re trying to serve, your audience. Then get them to fall in love with your brand and then ultimately choose you first in your category.

When they’re looking for something, if they’re looking for swag, it’s not, “Oh, well who can I go to?” But “I want to go to Joelly. Because we have the same values and I like who she is as a person and what she believes in.”

It’s really, it’s an emotional appeal to people. And branding is so important. That’s why I’m so passionate about it. Because I don’t know if people really understand that. Everybody’s got a brand, if it’s a personal brand or a business brand.

Gabe Harris:

Which I actually love these conversations because we’re really just talking about life in general.

Joelly Goodson:

Are we?

Gabe Harris:

If you are a company that is not authentic to who they are, their branding is not authentic to who they are, it’s so funny. If you walk into a room, you can instantly tell if someone is sleazy or not, and you have no idea why, but you can just smell it. People can just smell it from a hundred feet away.

Joelly Goodson:

There’s a lot of virtual signaling going on right now too because of that. I mean, you hear a lot of buzzwords right now. You hear, “Be authentic” and “Be genuine” and “Share your values.” I think there’s a lot of brands out there that are sort of talking the talk but not walking the walk.

And I think it’s really important. And like you said, people can sniff that out and they can tell if it’s BS or not, right?

“Just be who you are and stand up for what you believe in and share that.”

I talk about that a lot too because being authentic, what it really means is just try not to be like anybody else, but just be who you are and stand up for what you believe in and share that. And don’t try to share what you think your audience wants to hear to connect with them because it’s going to backfire and do the opposite.

Gabe Harris:

It sounds so simple, but that also is so hard to do as well because everybody sees relatively the same data and they’re like, “Well, we want to be. . . that speaks to that large amount of data.” But unfortunately if everybody does do that, then you’re not a brand at all. You’re just echoing what everybody else is saying.

Joelly Goodson: “That’s what branding is though, to stand out from your competition.”

For sure. And that’s what branding is though, to stand out from your competition. If everybody’s zigging, then you want to zag.

Everybody all of a sudden came to social, the pandemic hit more so than ever. And everyone was on there and everybody was like, “Buy my stuff, buy my product, buy my service, buy, buy, buy, sell, sell, sell.” And it was obnoxious and it was digital saturation and people were just getting so sick of it.

“Branding is the art of differentiation and making yourself stand out from everybody else.”

That is why branding has become so much more important because branding is the art of differentiation and making yourself stand out from everybody else. How do you do that in a way?

Well, there’s only one you, right? There’s only one Joelly, there’s only one Gabe. Instead of me trying to be somebody else, one of my competitors, I’m just focusing on being who I am, what I stand for, the best that I can because there’s no other Joelly Goodsons out there, just like there’s no other Gabe Harris’ out there.

I think people are losing sight of that and they’re looking to their left and they’re looking to their right and they’re trying to copy what they see as being successful instead of just looking inward and being the best them that they can be. And I think that’s what really good branding is. And you can see it.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, it’s funny when you scroll through, have you ever seen somebody for the very first time and you just instantly know this person’s difference?

Then it could be six months, a year, two years down the line, and then when they start bubbling up and everybody else starts realizing it, it’s funny how your first touchpoint of authenticity could be a projection years down the line when you see, “Oh, now everybody else is seeing that this person is genuine” and they really start rising to the top.

Joelly Goodson:

Yeah. I totally agree. I have this term where I call people or businesses or brands that blend in, I call it loose leaf paper. They all blend in and you can take the loose leaf paper and just flip and it all is the same.

But when one stands out, you don’t forget it and you remember it and it’s the colorful piece of paper. Yeah, it’s all loose leaf paper. Like I said, digital saturation right now. I mean, how many times do your eyes just gloss over when you’re scrolling on Instagram or on LinkedIn? It all looks the same.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah. Actually, going to maybe a little twist or going to current, I would think companies who have built in their branding and they’ve actually been genuine about it over the past X amount of time period, I think that is really coming into effect now.

Because if say the buzzword is with recession and people are looking to be able to trim back and whatnot, if you did not build up your brand during that time, it’s most likely that people are going to be jumping ship from you because they have no emotional tie except for how much they pay you.

Joelly Goodson:

Yep, but I don’t think it’s too late. Do you think it’s too late? I mean, I think there’s always a chance to recoup and start today. I don’t think you’re too late.

But I think again, that’s one of the reasons I started my podcast is branding matters. And I had a guest on one of my earlier podcasts and he summed it up perfectly and he talked about how he took over his parents’ recruiting company. And they were failing and losing money and he took it over.

“It was like they didn’t have a sales problem, they had a branding problem.”

It was like they didn’t have a sales problem, they had a branding problem. He rebranded the business and he started from scratch and he built it up and he ended up selling it and made a killing.

A lot of people think about sales when they need to take a step back first and think about what it is that their brand stands for. Who are they? And then what’s the best way that they’re going to connect with their audience and reach out to their audience and all those things?

“We all want to make money, but what’s your purpose other than that?”

If anybody’s thinking it’s too late, I don’t think it is, but I think you need to just take a step back first and really think about what is it. Who are you, what do you stand for, and what’s your messaging that you’re trying to get across?

And what’s your purpose other than making money, right? You always hear about the why. We all want to make money, but what’s your purpose other than that?

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, you’ll make money eventually if you land on your purpose.

If your mindset is that it is too late, this is going to be a little bit dark, then it is too late for you. It is never too late. You can always be able to build something. If you haven’t, actually, I think right now it’s more important to build a brand than it was six months ago.

From a marketing standpoint, your advertising dollars may not go as far as they used to. You can be burning cash if you’re doing advertising, but building a brand is going to be something that you can be able to trust down the line.

Because if you turn off that advertising spend, you’re not getting traffic. But if you have that strong branding, people are still going to cluster around you and gravitate towards you.

Joelly Goodson:

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, you talk about your advertising dollar. Well, sometimes some of the best branding, you don’t necessarily need money to grow. I mean, talk about all the different facets of branding and touchpoints and customer service is a huge, huge, huge part of brand.

“I don’t think brands and businesses realize how important something like customer service is as far as growing their business.”

And I mean, how many times have you gone to a restaurant and terrible service and terrible everything and you wouldn’t recommend it to anybody versus when you go somewhere and the service is excellent and the food is excellent, everything’s great. Now, you’re going to go out and you’re going to tell two friends or 10 friends or more, you’re going to go and tweet it on Twitter or you’re going to promote all over social media.

That was free advertising for this company and this restaurant and you became one of their biggest brand advocates because of their customer service.

I don’t think brands and businesses realize how important something like customer service is as far as growing their business. And it’s free. You just have to step up.

Gabe Harris:

I would totally agree. And that each touchpoint that you have is so much more valuable than an advertisement.

Joelly Goodson:


Gabe Harris:

Strong branding leads to more referrals and just like in life, if people like you, they’re more likely going to talk about you.

And same thing in business. Not only is it less likely that they’re going to leave, but it’s more likely that they’re going to give.

Joelly Goodson:

Yeah. Did you ever read the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin?

Gabe Harris:

Every time I see a purple cow, which is not often, I take that picture.

Joelly Goodson:

You read the book then?

Gabe Harris:

Oh yeah. I love that concept. Yeah.

Joelly Goodson:

I know it’s an older book, but I love the way he sums it up because we talked about being remarkable is being so good that people are going to remark about you, right? That’s what it means to be remarkable. It’s important to keep that in the back of your mind.

Gabe Harris:

I know a lot of people out there when they’re thinking about posting or pushing themselves out there, everybody has something in the back of their mind. Should I post this? Should I not? Is this remarkable? Or is this just completely dumb? Or maybe that’s a little bit hard of a word, completely dumb.

Joelly Goodson:

No, that’s okay. I’m not offended. It’s so funny, there’s so many words out there that are now canceled. It’s incredible. But I don’t think dumb is one of them. So you’re good.

Gabe Harris:

Not yet. Although words, side subject, I love how words evolve, even every five to 10 years, what we’re saying now has different meaning than a decade from now.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh, I know. Actually, it’s funny you say that. Swag, which is my industry, right? I sell swag. It’s actually a term that my two teenage boys use and they use it and it means cool.

And I don’t even know if I can say cool because that’s probably an old fashioned word, but when they see someone and they think that they got swag, right? I know what you mean, but I was referring more to just there’s so many words we can’t even say anymore.

I can’t even keep track of all of them because everything’s getting canceled and that’s probably a whole other conversation. But so when you said dumb, I’m like, “No, we’re good with that.”

Not to go off on a tangent or anything.

Gabe Harris:

Oh yeah, tangents are life. But when you’re thinking about posting something and pushing the brand, if you think that it is really unique — it’s hard to say no to something that you think is remarkable — if you have a remarkable north star that is true to you, that’s something that you should express.

Joelly Goodson:

Right. I agree. But I want to just stop you right there because I like to challenge people sometimes. And you said “When you’re trying to push your brand” and I think that’s a mindset that a lot of people have when they’re talking about social. They have that mindset of like, “Oh, I got to push my brand, I got to sell.”

And I think if you just change that mindset to “How can I serve my audience?” Be really clear about who your audience is, what are their problems, what are you trying to solve for them?

“Try to think, ‘What problem can I solve today?'”

Then instead of thinking, “How can I push my brand?” Try to think, “What problem can I solve today? What is the problem that I see?”

I do badass branding tips every Tuesday and I come up with my ideas because of conversations I have with people. I’m like, “Oh, that’s something that is a problem. I’m going to give a tip.”

If you go into the mindset, again, this is about branding and about going on social, and instead of trying to push your product or your service or your business or your brand, how can I serve my audience today? What problem can I solve? I think you might find you’ll get more connections and more engagement by doing it that way. It’s a mindset thing.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah. This may be nerdy, that statement was not reverse engineering the audience’s needs. It was my needs.

Joelly Goodson:

Yeah, and I think we all do that. We all think of our own needs because we’re all selfish. I’m in sales ultimately, but again, it’s been something that I’ve learned and it’s a mindset thing. It’s amazing how much further you’ll go and how more successful you’ll be if you think about it.

So, you’re the business, you’re the person who wants to push your brand. People can’t see me, I’m doing quotations, on social. Then put yourself in the opposite and you’re now scrolling, you don’t care about that. You only care about what your needs are and what’s your problem today? What’s going to stop the scroll?

“I always try to put myself in the other person’s position.”

What’s going to get you engaged is when you see something that is connecting to you that’s going to help solve that problem that you’re dealing with, right? I always try to put myself in the other person’s position and go like, “Okay, so,” and I think a lot about my clients, what are they struggling with? Then I try to appeal to that and to help them. That make sense?

Gabe Harris:

Yeah. Would it say remarkably solve your audience’s problems?

Joelly Goodson: “When you’re being remarkable, it’s how you’re serving people.”

Well, I think when it comes to the term remarkable, I think what it means and how I interpret it, and we could probably all interpret it differently, maybe we should get Seth on here and he could talk to us about it. But I think for me it means when you’re being remarkable, it’s how you’re serving people.

Yes, of course be remarkable when it comes to your social media marketing and what you’re doing on there. But there’s also companies that do that. I know yours is one of them and there’s social media marketers that that’s their expertise. That’s not my expertise. I mean, I’m just myself on my social media and either you like it or you don’t.

“In your customer service, doing things that go above and beyond I think is what’s going to make you remarkable.”

But again, it’s being remarkable in your actions. In your customer service, doing things that go above and beyond I think is what’s going to make you remarkable and what people are going to remark about.

I don’t know if they’ll necessarily remark about, “Wow, I really like the look of that post and the colors and everything” versus, “Wow, she really helped me.”

I get emails from people about my podcast and the best compliment I get is when they say, “Wow, I listened to that podcast with that guest and it really helped me, I had a problem with how to do things and that helped me so much. It helped my business.” That’s what I’m talking about. So anyway, we’ll see if Seth agrees. I don’t know, but that’s my interpretation.

Gabe Harris:

I think that is cool. I do think that is the best compliment when you actually know you gave value to somebody that you don’t even know.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh yeah, I love it. That’s why I started.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, there’s actually different Jewish layers of giving that they have. You give somebody, like you purposely know that you give to them, like “Here’s $500” and you give it to them personally, but the more disconnected you are, the better the feel.

This is going to be a little disconnected, but the better it is for you personally. Say you give somebody you don’t even know and how they’re able to grow. Giving value through the podcast indirectly, you just know that it was good.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh for sure. It’s funny that you say that because I realize that I like to help people and I’m a connector. I love connecting people. When I know someone’s looking for a job and I know there’s a job available, I’m always connecting them together. And I’ve always been like that since I was younger and I love helping people.

What I do in my career as far as helping businesses create brand awareness and then again, I started my podcast for that exact reason because. . . If I’m allowed to talk about my podcast, is that okay?

Gabe Harris:


Joelly Goodson:

Yeah. I started, it’s called Branding Matters and I launched it actually January 1st, 2021. The reason for that is because of a lot of things that you and I just talked about is seeing people all over social “Buy my product, buy my service.”

And I did a presentation and that’s the September prior and it was online because this is just when COVID had hit and I had two women reach out to me after the presentation basically thanking me and saying, “I got laid off from my corporate job because of COVID. I’ve started my own business and I don’t know anything about what you just talked about. I didn’t realize how important brand is and branding.”

“Forced entrepreneurship became this global issue where people were getting laid off and starting businesses.”

I walked away from that and I thought, “Okay, well if these are two women in a small group, then COVID is a global issue.” Then there’s people all over the world. Forced entrepreneurship became this global issue where people were getting laid off and starting businesses.

They knew about their business, they knew whatever the business they started, they were very confident in that business, but they didn’t understand the concept of what does it mean to create a brand?

Before they went out to sell their business, they needed to spend that time. That’s why I literally started my podcast. It was just something I thought, “Okay, well I know what I know, but I know what I don’t know. If I can bring on experts from all over the world, from all different industries and share their stories and valuable branding tips that are going to help these small business owners and entrepreneurs, and why not?”

“I love talking to people about a concept, a subject that I’m so passionate about.”

It’s fun. As you can tell, I love to talk. I love talking to people about a concept, a subject that I’m so passionate about. And that’s where it snowballed. When I get those messages and I get them quite frequently thanking me and saying, “Oh, I learned something about this” or, “I love this episode,” then it makes it worth it, right?

I mean, so yeah, that’s sort of where it came from and now it’s taken off and we’ll see.

Gabe Harris:

Heck yeah. And this is a little bit earlier, but I love how you said a friend or a colleague purchased a company or took over their parents’ company and they just had to improve their branding.

I imagine maybe you were able to help them out, if not just the fact that branding was able to change everything around for them. I think that is awesome.

Joelly Goodson: “‘They didn’t have a sales problem. A lot of people think they have a sales problem, but when actually they have a branding problem.'”

Oh yeah. I mean, he actually was a branding expert. He was one of my first guests and his name is Jeremy Miller and he wrote a book called Sticky Branding and it’s a great book because it’s really important.

He told that story because of his background and it has one of the best lines I ever heard because it’s so, so true. Like he goes, “They didn’t have a sales problem. A lot of people think they have a sales problem, but when actually they have a branding problem.”

Gabe Harris:

And branding does make sales a lot easier.

Joelly Goodson: “You can’t sell to anybody anymore.”

Oh, because you know what? You can’t sell to anybody anymore. Think about this, right? With Google, with TripAdvisor, with Yahoo, with all the platforms that you can go on in two seconds and find out everything you need to know about a product.

If you want to go buy a car, let’s say, back in the day, I’m a bit older than you, you’d have to go into a car lot and you’d get a salesperson and you’d ask them questions about the car, the make, all this stuff. And you didn’t really know what to pay.

Well, now, before you even walk into a lot, you can Google that car and you can know all the features, all the benefits, what you should pay, what you shouldn’t pay.

“The only reason someone’s going to buy from company A versus company B is what connection do they have?”

It’s not about trying to sell to anybody. The only reason someone’s going to buy from company A versus company B is what connection do they have? Do they share the same values? And like you said, especially now more than ever.

I had another guest on my podcast here, I’m promoting all my guests, his name is David Avrin and he wrote an amazing book and it’s called, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You. How To Raise Your Profits, By Raising Your Profile. And he said something again that stuck with me and he asked the question, what are the four most dangerous words in business? Do you know what they are?

Gabe Harris:

“We’re cheap” or something to that nature. And I would say, “We can’t do that.” Those are the two that are popping up to my head.

Joelly Goodson:

Well, I like, “We can’t do that.” That’s a good one. But no, it’s actually, “All things being equal” because all things being equal, what are you going to make your decision on? Price, right? If everything is exactly equal, then you’re going to go for the cheapest option every time.

“If everybody’s zigging, you got to zag and you have to be different because that’s how you’re going to stand out and how you’re going to make the connection.”

That’s why you can’t compete. You have to do something different. It goes back to branding. If everybody’s zigging, you got to zag and you have to be different because that’s how you’re going to stand out and how you’re going to make the connection.

When it’s time to choose, I’m going to choose. Maybe it’s not the cheapest item. And ideally, I don’t want people to work with me or do biz because I’m the cheapest in town and I’m very open about that. I want them to do business with me because of my customer service and because of everything else that I do to make their experience more enjoyable and more fun. You never want to compete on price because then you’re going to be screwed all the time. What do you think about that?

Gabe Harris:

I’ll say that if from a service standpoint, if people are going to you because you’re the cheapest, those are going to be the worst clients. They’re going to nag the most, be the least understanding and also probably the first ones to leave.

Joelly Goodson:

Well, yes. Then what happens is they’ll come to you because you’re the cheapest, whether it’s your product or your service. Then the guy down the street will offer cheaper and then they’ll go to them and they’ll flip flop and constantly flip flop.

“All that ties into branding and connections and becoming loyal, turning your customers into loyal fans and loyal brand advocates.”

All that ties into branding and connections and becoming loyal, turning your customers into loyal fans and loyal brand advocates. Then that’s like any relationship. It’s like if you’re in a bad marriage and you cheat, now people may not agree with this, but you don’t cheat because you are happy in your marriage and everything’s going great. Usually chances are it’s not going great. You’re looking for happiness, I guess, outside of the relationship. I think it’s the same thing.

If you’re a company or a business and you’re serving your clients and you’re going above and beyond and you have a really great relationship, they’re not going to leave. Why would they? You’re giving them everything they want and then some. Anyway, that’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah. When you see a future with something, you’re going to be more likely to stick with it.

An example, if I’m going to be competing in the Olympics, say next month, I’m not going to be eating ice cream, hamburgers and whatever junk food I can be able to have, because I have a very strong future that I’m aspiring for.

And that’s the same thing with brands. If that audience doesn’t have a strong future connect that they see, they’re more likely to just jump around.

Joelly Goodson: “Brand loyalty is the ultimate.”

Brand loyalty is the ultimate, right? When you think about, I’ll use a brand like Apple, and the reason I say that is because I have two teenage boys and everything is Apple, right?

Their iPhones, their AirPods, everything. You mention another brand and they look at me like I’m crazy. They are just completely loyal, a hundred percent. And that’s a really strong, successful brand. Now, I think that’s what we all strive for, is we want that same thing that your customers will never go anywhere else or it’s going to take a lot to make them switch.

Gabe Harris:

Actually I’m the green bubble in text threads and nobody’s ever thinking about becoming a green bubble with me.

Joelly Goodson:

What is a green bubble? I don’t know what that is.

Gabe Harris:

It’s when you’re an Android and you’re the only Android in an iPhone chat, so they give you a green bubble. All my friends hate me, which I partially love, but nobody ever talks about becoming a green bubble. It’s more about, “You better join our group.”

They do a very strong branding that nobody’s going to leave an iPhone if basically more and more people just are going to be gravitating towards it because of that strong branding Apple has.

If a friend leaves Apple and gets an Android, it’s almost like there’s something wrong with them.

Joelly Goodson:

It’s just that loyalty and it’s that there’s so many reasons why somebody comes with the brand and I think it’s a very personal reason. But when they do, like I said, my boys, they won’t even consider.

You mention something else. Like, “Are you crazy?” It’s just didn’t happen. That talk about strong branding and strong loyalty and they’re teenagers, so they’re going to be buying lots more phones and lots more laptops, watches and AirPods and all the other stuff.

Gabe Harris:

And whatever gizmos, cool gizmos that come out the next.

Joelly Goodson:


Gabe Harris:

Speaking about deeper relationships and something that you genuinely have a close relationship with is different promotional products as well. Could you speak, especially in a digital world, about getting promotional products or getting products that you can actually give somebody with branding in person?

Joelly Goodson:

Well, yeah, you’re speaking my language, Gabe. Thank you for bringing that up.

I’ve been in the merch industry for over 20 years. I’ve been with the same company for 20 years. It’s a great company called Genumark. They’re amazing for so many reasons.

“Merch is a part of branding and very much so because it creates brand awareness.”

Merch is a part of branding and very much so because it creates brand awareness, right? I mean, you see it. All you have to do is look around you. Go to the racetrack and the race drivers are head to toe in logos or go anywhere and you see, and especially you talked about digital.

Well, when everybody was in lockdown and people were on and doing Zoom videos and you were seeing people on social media promoting a business or whatever, they always were wearing shirts.

I’m wearing my Badass shirt today, right? They would wear their shirts with their logos. They’re creating that brand awareness, you’re seeing it. On digital, it’s super impactful. But the other way it was impactful too, is when we were all connected.

“Because even though we were all connected virtually and digital, we were all of a sudden working from home.”

Because even though we were all connected virtually and digital, we were all of a sudden working from home. A lot of businesses had their employees spread out all over, whether it was the same city or different countries. What became really popular was we did these boxes, these kits. That was a great way to connect everybody in your business. We’d get these kits, we actually did it ourselves because we don’t just talk the talk, we don’t just walk the walk.

When everybody was in lockdown for a long time and we were all working from home, our company, they sent each person and we’re a national company, we got these little boxes and you’d open up as a care package to like, “We’re still here, we appreciate you, we appreciate what you’re going through.”

“It’s all about an experience, but it’s more than just slapping a logo on something.”

There was logo, things, and treats, and everything. And I mean, just that experience of opening it up made me feel valued and that my employer cared.

We did this for a lot of our customers all over. They were doing that for their employees, just letting them know, “Hang in there and we appreciate you.” It’s all about an experience, but it’s more than just slapping a logo on something.

Actually, a lot of times when I work with my clients, I say, “You don’t necessarily have to put your logo front and center.” I mean, it’s okay to have it maybe more subtle. But a great hashtag, if you’re trying to promote a hashtag or if you have a great tagline and you want to promote that or a mission or something, and make them funky. And I always say you’re wasting your money if no one’s going to wear it or use it.

“Do your research and make sure you spend time strategizing.”

Do your research and make sure you spend time strategizing. Because a lot of times, companies, swag is their afterthought. They’ve come up with a marketing plan and they’ve come up with all their strategies and then, “Oh, I guess we need some merch too. What can we get and really fast?”

And it should be the other way. It should be how can we connect with our audience and what would be the best way for them to do that based on what their needs are, their values are and everything else? Then work that way, and do some great stuff. It’s really creating awareness.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, and going for merch, not pitching you but I imagine —

Joelly Goodson:

You can pitch me. That’s okay.

Gabe Harris:

I love it.

Joelly Goodson:

I’m okay with that.

Gabe Harris:

There’s so much merch that you can throw away that is absolutely useless. I imagine if you’re going to do it, like anything in life, don’t half ass it. Actually give something that somebody’s actually going to relatively want and use.

Joelly Goodson: “It’s creating that wow factor around something.”

Oh, and not just relatively want, they want it.

The best compliment, I had a client who not that long ago, she sent me an email and we did some really nice hoodies for them. And she’s like, “We need to order more hoodies because people are stealing them. They love them so much.” They were staff hoodies and people were wanting to buy them and steal them. Yeah, I mean, it’s creating that wow factor around something.

And just to address what you mentioned about throwing things away. Disposable, nobody likes that. And as I mentioned to you, I’ve been in the industry a long time and it’s changed so much as far as people are a lot more mindful. Not just people, not just my customers, but our manufacturers. We’re getting a lot more things made in Canada, which is a huge demand.

“And sustainable is huge. Just looking for ways to not waste, repurpose things.”

And sustainable is huge. Just looking for ways to not waste, repurpose things. Our industry is very much in tune with that. And I always want to give something that is going to be useful and budget is not a constraint for that.

Sometimes people think they need to spend a lot of money to make a big impact and that’s not the case. It’s just being thoughtful and strategizing.

And again, that’s where I come in where I say, “Okay, I’m not the cheapest in town, but I’ll work with you, my knowledge about branding and strategizing and I’ll help you come up with amazing things that are really going to create that wow factor.”

Because ultimately I’ll make them look good. And when I get a compliment back from one of my clients and they say, “Wow, we gave this out and you made me look so good, thank you.”

Well, that’s great. But yeah, we’re very mindful of that because I hate the waste too, trust me. I mean, packaging a lot of things and it’s changed a lot.

Gabe Harris:

I would even say this, if you give me something, I always like to bring up the six inch Frisbee that doesn’t fly. If you give that to me, I’m actually going to devalue your brand a little bit.

Joelly Goodson:


Gabe Harris:


Joelly Goodson: “Your merch is your extension of your brand.”

Exactly. It’s going to, a hundred percent. I love that you said that because it’s totally going to backfire on you because again, your merch is your extension of your brand.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah. Actually, I would even say it is one to one. It is probably worse for every bad piece of swag that you give off versus every good piece of swag that you give off.

Maybe I could be wrong unless if it’s exceptionally great, if you give somebody a really, really nice hoodie, or actually I’ve got cheap earbuds before where I thought it was complete junk and I laughed at it. But if you give somebody really, really good earbuds that are branded, obviously people are going to love that.

But I think more about the bad swag, one to one t-shirts that are going to break down after you wash them one time or any other swag that’s just garbage. Every time you give that out, every one of those people are probably going to be judging you.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh, for sure. A hundred percent. And you know what?

I mean, there is obviously sometimes in my 20 year career, there have been times where a client has received something that wasn’t up to par with everything else, but that could be out of my control for different reasons. I mean, a lot of times when we order things and they get them, we don’t see it before they get it. There’s the surprise, but it’s rare.

“It’s very much being mindful about every single thing that you’re putting your name, logo, and brand on and putting out there in the marketplace because it’s a hundred percent reflection of your brand.”

I would hope that because they got one bad thing, they wouldn’t all of a sudden fire me and say, “Oh, she sucks and we’re never going to do business with her again.” But I think it’s very much being mindful about every single thing that you’re putting your name, logo, and brand on and putting out there in the marketplace because it’s a hundred percent reflection of your brand.

And that, again, when I say that’s all part of your branding, it’s so important and you don’t need a big budget to do it. But you just need to have someone like me to help you or whoever you’re using, just make sure that you have a good strategy and think about it before you just do it as a last minute add on, which a lot of people tend to do.

I mean, we know Christmas is every year, so why do people wait until the beginning of December to all of a sudden want to get some corporate gifts for their clients, right? When they know it’s coming every year, they could spend a bit more time and thought as to who they’re giving them to and what they want to do versus, “Okay, I need to order something and what do you have that we need to get in five days?” Right?

Gabe Harris:

Oh man. Without me knowing, it might even be a little inside joke, like everybody is procrastinating in last minute trying to get all of their holiday stuff out right now.

Joelly Goodson:

Well, I mean, there’s always last minute stuff for sure. And no matter how much you try to educate people and remind them, it’s just because sometimes, all of a sudden they’ll get a budget that they didn’t have and they’re like, “Okay, I got all this money now and I need to spend it by this quarter and everything.” For sure it happens all the time.

And luckily our industry has also improved as far as timelines, different decoration methods and all that is increased, has shortened tremendously. We can do things, turn them around super quickly when possible. But as you probably know, supply chain has been a major issue around the world these days.

“Instead of putting your merch sort of last in an afterthought, maybe it should be front and top center.”

That’s been a huge bummer for a lot of my clients. But yeah, I just think in general, instead of making that the last thing on your list, if you’re a business out there and you’re putting together a campaign and you’re trying to get your message out and create awareness, instead of putting your merch sort of last in an afterthought, maybe it should be front and top center.

Because I think you’ll get more bang for your buck with that and you’ll get more value and you won’t waste your money. And that’s ultimately going to save you money.

Gabe Harris:

And have it all blended. Have it be a part of the campaign. The intricacies will be woven through and it will be, “Oh, this product makes sense, this is why they’re giving it out at this particular conference because it speaks whatever messaging points that they want to put forth.”

Joelly Goodson: “I think everybody loves free stuff, but they hate crap.”

And you know what? Let’s be clear, or let’s be honest, I think everybody loves free stuff, but they hate crap. If you’re going to give out free stuff, then you have to make sure that it’s going to be something that is going to be used and liked.

Like I said, have the wow factor. And I’m like that when I come across things all the time. Suppliers come to me with new ideas and new things, and I’m pretty discerning.

If I see something and this has happened where someone will come to me and say, “Oh Joelly, check this out.” They’ll show me something and they think it’s super cool and everyone’s going to love it. And I’m like, “Yeah, it’s cool, but what do you do with it? What is it?” “Yeah, but it’s cool. Look, it does this and it does flips.”

I sort of vet things before I bring them and if I’m excited about something and I see that it’s going to be something that a client is going to love, then I’ll bring it forward. They may not always love it, but a lot of times they do. Yeah. Can I tell you a funny story really quickly?

Gabe Harris:


Joelly Goodson:

This is a true story. This is, again, many years ago I came across this item and I was on the internet or actually, someone brought it to my attention. They said, “What do you think of this?” And I looked at it and it was super cool and it was really small. They basically told me that you could take it and you could put your information on your laptop on it, and then you could take it home and do more work at home.

I thought this was a cool thing. And at the time, I think it was a hundred bucks like wholesale. I remember showing it to my boss and saying, “Hey, what do you think of this? It’s super cool.” And he is like, “Yeah, that’s interesting. But I don’t know.”

“I don’t know what it is, but I knew that those were going to take off and I showed them to people, and they bought them.”

Anyway, fast forward, it’s now what we call the USB drive, and now you can do whatever, I don’t know, a hundred gigabytes for $20. I don’t even know the price right now. I don’t know what it is, but I knew that those were going to take off and I showed them to people, and they bought them. And this was, I’m going to say 10, at least 10 years ago, if not more, my claim to fame.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, I think they’re just dying down. Maybe you would know a little bit more than I would, just because digitally, but I used to work at Fry’s Electronics. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it.

Joelly Goodson:

What’s it called?

Gabe Harris:

Fry’s Electronics. It’s a computer tech store. It was really big during like Silicon Valley and then it crashed and burned and went bankrupt like five, six years ago. Anyways, they did USB drives. Those were the coolest thing to gift.

Joelly Goodson:

Yeah, well, because think about how useful it was, and that was when people would work at home or work in the office. Then they would just take their information, whatever document, put it onto their USB, unplug it, it’s the size of a thumb, go home, put it into their laptop. Right away I was like, “Oh, this is going to be huge.” I love things like that. I mean, that was innovative.

“That changed industry and then it exploded.”

That changed industry and then it exploded. You asked me if they’re died down, I mean, they’re still used because they’re a great way to provide information and they’ve changed a lot and grown a lot. But yeah, that was fun. I like more innovative things like that.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, I imagine that’s really cool that you get to see a lot of things being very exploratory. And that may be the best way to describe things. It’s exploring something, but I don’t really know what the use of this thing is, but it looks cool.

Joelly Goodson: “Sustainability is front and center.”

Yeah, and I’m not into that. If it just looks cool and doesn’t do anything, sits on your desk and collects dust and it’s going to end up in the garbage eventually, then there has to be a use to it.

Yeah, I mean, our industry’s come a long way. I’m excited for where it’s going. As I said, sustainability is front and center.

The company I work for, Genumark, we’re ISO certified, so we’re very mindful of that as far as being paperless and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, it’s going to be very exciting to see where it’s going.

Gabe Harris:

Cool. Well, speaking of paperless, if people want to be able to take a digital journey, Joelly, and find out more about you, where can they do some deep diving?

Joelly Goodson:

Well, that’s a personal question. Well, I’m on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, that’s a whole other thing in itself. It’s a growing platform. It’s a great platform for any business person. If your listeners are entrepreneurs or business owners, they should be on LinkedIn. I’m definitely on LinkedIn under Joelly Goodson. Then on Instagram, I’m on Instagram as the @branding_badass and I talk about branding.

I think this could be a good way to end our conversation. I mentioned I think that I had some challenges back in 2015 and I had to start over and I went through divorce and single mom and two kids and had a lot of bad things happen in my life. Then I had to reinvent myself.

I basically had to sort of, again, walk the walk. And I thought, “Okay,” this book by Jen Sincero, and it’s called You Are A Badass, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.

And she talks about how she was in her 40s and she was down and out, living in her brother’s garage and one day just like, “I need to pull up my socks and get going.” She started to get going and made a life for herself and became a bestselling author and successful business woman.

“A badass is somebody who pulls up their socks and doesn’t feel entitled, but makes something of themselves based on their own actions and what they do and come against adversity and rise above it.”

The term badass for me always stuck in my mind as before that book, I always thought of a badass as someone full of tattoos and kind of that person.

Well now, I completely changed that. And to me, a badass is somebody who pulls up their socks and doesn’t feel entitled, but makes something of themselves based on their own actions and what they do and come against adversity and rise above it. Get knocked down 10 times, but get up 11.

All those hardships that I experienced, I started seeing in other people and respecting. I rebranded myself as a Branding Badass for that reason, and hence my Badass t-shirts. With all that said, you can find me on Instagram under @branding_badass, and yeah, I think LinkedIn and Instagram are the two places.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, I love that.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh, and my website, for my podcast.

Gabe Harris:

Oh. Yeah.

Joelly Goodson:

As I mentioned, my podcast is called Branding Matters and I created it to help small business owners and entrepreneurs create brand equity. And you can just go to and check it out. I drop a new episode every two weeks, every second Friday. And if you want some badass merch, like my Badass t-shirt, you can also get that there, so.

Gabe Harris:

Heck yeah. And we’ll make sure to put all the links in below. Loved the badass conversation, Joelly. Thank you so much for your time.

Joelly Goodson:

Oh, Gabe, thank you. This is so fun. I hope I was helpful and answered your questions.

Gabe Harris:

Yeah, definitely.

Thanks for listening to our podcast on how branding improves customer experience with Joelly Goodson!

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