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Building a Great Brand Experience

This week’s download is a fun one — Dorian is sharing the recipe for his irresistible lasagna from scratch. Download it, try it, and let us know what you think!

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About This Episode

In this special episode, Tricia and LZ welcome the Vice President of Marketing at BELAY, Dorian Usherwood. Dorian has 26 years of experience in brand strategy development, customer experience, and brand development and management among many other skills.

 

Dorian is a master at using visual expression as a way to communicate a marketing message. So we’re going to talk to him about that, as well as what leaders need to know about creating a great brand experience for their company – and how to use that to really move the company forward.

1. Brand experience is about consistency.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a large corporation, a growing startup, or a brand-new small company, consistency carries a ton of weight. When people interact with your brand, they expect the same treatment, the same experience, every time. That’s when you begin to grow and be known as a brand.

2. Your brand experience isn’t just external – it’s also internal.

 It’s about your team members and their experience working for you. How are they connecting to the brand? How do they answer the question, “What does it mean to work here?” Is their experience of the company culture similar? Make sure you don’t focus on customer experience so much that you forget about the team.

3. All touch points should create interactions that are consistent with who you say you are as a brand.

Whether it’s marketing, sales, customer service, or a greeter inside a big box store, all of your brand’s interactions should have a similar feel. Continue seeking feedback to make sure you aren’t out of touch with what you say you are versus how your customers are experiencing your brand.

 

How would you define a positive brand experience?
What are some of your best interactions with a brand?
What do you think brands often get wrong about their marketing?
What can you do to make your marketing, communication, and overall brand experience better?

Create a brand experience that's consistent with who you say you are.

Dorian Usherwood

Review, reflect, and then refine your brand experience on a continuous basis.

Dorian Usherwood

The difference a brand experience makes is manifested in whether an employee or customer stays or leaves.

Dorian Usherwood

Brand experience isn’t about perfection, but consistency.

Dorian Usherwood

Dorian Usherwood on LinkedIn and at BELAY.

Tricia Sciortino on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lisa Zeeveld on Instagram and LinkedIn.

BELAY Solutions

Dorian’s lasagna recipe.

(01:55) Dorian talks about his favorite thing to cook. 

(03:42) Dorian shares his story and how he became passionate about marketing. 

(06:27) What has his experience been like living abroad, and what life lessons has he learned?

(09:22) How can smaller businesses use marketing and communication to build their brand experience?

(13:40) How do you define a “brand experience?”

(15:27) What gets Dorian out of the bed in the morning and gets him ready to go in his new role as VP of Marketing at BELAY?

(17:13) What is a go-to, awesome recipe Dorian will share with us?

(20:38) Lisa gives her major takeaway from the interview. 

(21:28) Tricia shares her major takeaway. 

(22:55) Tricia makes a super cool announcement about the podcast!

(23:38) This week’s download: Dorian is sharing the recipe for his irresistible lasagna from scratch. Download it, try it, and let us know what you think!

Dorian Usherwood:

If you look at a great external brand experience, it’s one that creates brand ambassadors of people that aren’t even employees of that company. A great internal brand experience is how your employees experience the company, how they’re treated, guided, empowered, and the freedom you give them to do their best work. And the difference it makes is manifested in an employee or a customer staying or leaving.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world. Helping you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with confidence with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to One Next Step. I’m Tricia, the CEO of BELAY.

Lisa Zeeveld :

And I’m LZ, the CFO of BELAY. Today we are so excited to interview our good friend, the Vice President of Marketing at BELAY, Dorian Usherwood. Dorian has 26 years of experience in brand strategy, development, customer experience, and brand development and management, among many, many other skills.

Tricia Sciortino:

What I love about Dorian is how he uses visual expression as a way to communicate a marketing message. We’re going to talk to him about that as well as what leaders need to know about creating a great brand experience for their company, and how to use that to really move the company forward. I’m super excited to chat with Dorian, so let’s go.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome Dorian to the One Next Step podcast. We’re so happy to have you today.

Dorian Usherwood:

Yeah, it’s great to be here.

Tricia Sciortino:

So this is a really exciting episode for us. We’re excited to have you, first of all, because you’re our vice president of marketing here at BELAY and you have so much value to add to this conversation today. I’m looking forward to getting into it and for our audience to get to know you a little bit because we know you and love you. But before we get started, I wanted to ask you a fun question, an ice breaker if you will, for everybody, okay?

Tricia Sciortino:

So we know, via your Instagram, or I know just because I know you, that you’re a foodie and you love to cook. So tell us, what is the best meal you’ve ever eaten or cooked yourself?

Dorian Usherwood:

Yeah, the best thing I’ve eaten is tough because I’ve eaten such great food in some very wonderful places. So I’ll tell you my favorite thing that I like to cook is Japanese ramen. I make a 24 hour broth, and at the same time that the broth is cooking, I actually sous vide a piece of pork belly for 24 hours in a spice blend that I created. And it’s the time investment and not only selecting the right pork belly but also the right bones and herbs for the broth. And then every single ingredient, and couple that with the process of consuming it and how you’re supposed to eat ramen makes it hands down my favorite.

Tricia Sciortino:

Wow. That’s a true labor of love right there. That is true foodie love, 24-hour meal, basically.

Lisa Zeeveld :

And I have to confess, I also follow you on Instagram. So I believe you have a hashtag that is home cooked wins, home cooked always best?

Dorian Usherwood:

Scratch made wins.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Scratch made wins, yes. And I have to say that you’ve actually encouraged me to cook at home more often. So I’m not going to go and make a 24 hour ramen.

Tricia Sciortino:

Not going to make a 24 hour broth ramen?

Lisa Zeeveld :

No, I’m not, but you’ve definitely encouraged me so thank you for doing that. And of course, with a meal like that, it definitely opens up the question about your story because that does not sound like something I’m just going to go down to my local corner and pick up. You definitely have traveled a lot of amazing places, and so why don’t you just tell us your story and what is the behind the scenes reason for your passion for marketing?

Dorian Usherwood:

Sure. Yeah, you know, growing up as an artist, my parents, they always supported my creative talents and not all parents do that. They supported me with the right tools, going to the right camps or schools. You name it, they were there and they really enabled my capability to pursue my talent in the area of creative arts. That actually propelled me into the professional creative realm where I dabbled in the creative arts working at a newspaper, actually in Baltimore, the first black newspaper in the US called the Afro AM, and then onto a magazine in New York, The Black Enterprise Magazine, the main black business magazine in the world, and working as a graphic artist. Getting an opportunity, especially at the magazine in New York, to learn about the trading realm, and of course, we’re right there close to Wall Street, and then just learning about how businesses are built.

Dorian Usherwood:

So I really started to understand, business is super exciting to me, while a lot of my friends in the art world were pursuing the agency direction. And so ultimately, I landed a job as a graphic analyst at Accenture in their strategy practice, so the documents that I was working with on a day-to-day basis, they really revealed the future strategy of the biggest companies in the world, and I had access to that information and it really intrigued me in learning about the why as it pertains to business. Through that experience, while I was at Accenture, I was actually named E-media lead. That term now has become digital, but I was the digital lead for the Southeast for Accenture. And as a member of the creative team, I got put onto assignments that weren’t just a part of the strategy practice, and ultimately got assigned to the E-Trade website redesign where I worked with designers, developers, and architects, the best in the world really and got a chance to live in San Francisco for about three and a half months on that project.

Dorian Usherwood:

That’s what really helped me dig into the why as it pertains to marketing, and how my creative talent can be applied to the world of business. And so that was kind of a really pivotable awakening for me.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. That’s a great story.

Tricia Sciortino:

I love that. That’s a great journey, yeah. Well, and speaking of living in San Francisco, you’ve lived in some amazing places. You’ve lived in Europe the last four or five years, so I would love to know what that experience was like for you and your family, living abroad. And what kind of lessons or life lessons you learned from that experience, especially coming back to the State side now?

Dorian Usherwood:

Yeah. You know, it was definitely a game changer. Having spent 14 years of my formative life living in Europe, for me, it was like returning home. After I moved to the US in 1987, there were always parts of me that didn’t really fit into the typical American persona. There were things where I didn’t really fit in with this group or that group, and going back to Europe as an adult, it really showed me why I was not just an American. My wife, she had also grown up overseas. She had lived in South Korea, in Europe, and so providing this opportunity for our kids, this was a rich experience that would broaden their perspective for the rest of their lives so it was really a no brainer for us.

Dorian Usherwood:

Little did we know, we needed to be removed from living the American dream for the idea of our American dream really to be rebranded. We validated that America is beautiful, no matter where you live, and America will always be the land that we love, but we also learned that there’s a whole lot of the world out there and how we experience that world as visitors or residents for us is about the overall life experience that you’re hoping to build. It’s not just the destination but it’s also related to us as Americans or humans in the world. I learned from sitting at birthday parties with other parents, sitting alongside parents who were Middle East dignitaries, EU delegates, business executives and other former workaholics that we all wanted the same thing out of life. We wanted our kids to grow up in a safe environment with a solid education, and ultimately turn into responsible contributors to the story of our world.

Lisa Zeeveld :

I love that, and I love that both you and your wife had your own experience there so you knew how valuable it was for your own children. What a gift that you were able to give them, and I know you’ve shared with us that you miss it. You miss your friends and miss the food and the culture that is there, so although we are blessed by you being a part of our team and you being back here in the states, we also are very mindful that it’s a hard transition and I know your kids are definitely going to feel that too.

Dorian Usherwood:

Definitely, yeah.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. With so much of your background being with large companies, I also know that you spent some time owning your own business and you’ve worked for some smaller ones. So I’m really curious for our listeners who are going, “Yeah, that’s great, awesome. You worked for Accenture and Equifax and Home Depot, but I’m not that big.” I think that you can really help those listening who own a smaller business really understand how they can use marketing and communication to really broaden their brand experience. What are some things that you could share with us about maybe the differences between the two?

Dorian Usherwood:

Sure. You know, I can say unequivocally that brand experience is not fully understood in any size business or organization, large or small. Let’s use eating at a restaurant as an example. You know, before I go eat at a new restaurant, I typically do some research online, look at the website, look at reviews, look at menus if that’s available, look at the location. But once I walk in the door, how was I greeted? When I sit down, how long did it take for me to get my order? How was the food plated? How good or bad was the food? When it’s time to leave, how long was that process?

Dorian Usherwood:

So for me, when I look at that entire scenario, that’s a brand experience. And you’ll notice, I didn’t mention the logo of the restaurant once because it’s not about the logo, it’s about every single touch point. So when you look at a large company like an Equifax, or a small company like BELAY, all of our touch points, communications and then interactions should create a brand experience that’s consistent with who we say we are. That means we have to pay attention to every activity and review, reflect, and then refine our brand experience on a continuous basis.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. So in a way, if I were to break that down like that, the LZ definition, it’s sort of taking your why and putting it into action, right? So if your why is because you’re a restaurant owner and you want to create an impeccable experience with fantastic food, regardless of your name or your logo, and the feedback you’re getting is not that, then you’ve kind of missed the mark on your brand.

Dorian Usherwood:

Definitely, yeah.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah, well, and I think that there’s so many companies out there that are product driven organizations, and so they think experience or having a brand experience is irrelevant because I’m selling AirPods, or whatever you’re selling. You’re selling some product and so experience may fail to come into play, which is totally the wrong idea, right? Regardless, you still want somebody to come back and buy your item, or you want it to be referred to somebody else because these are the best of earbuds ever, whatever that is. But I think that the experiences out there, really good experiences are so hard to find, product organization specifically, but even service industries. I mean, look at the cable company.

Dorian Usherwood:

Sure.

Tricia Sciortino:

You are working too many hours and it’s bleeding over into your evenings and weekends. You are missing valuable family time and honestly, life is zipping by you. Sound familiar? Let’s get uncomfortably honest here. How long has it been since you were fully present and felt peace? It’s probably too long. You know how I know? Because I’ve been there.

Dorian Usherwood:

But as with any struggle or obstacle in life, the first step is admitting you have a problem. You may not have everything under control. You know who can help you get everything under control? A BELAY virtual assistant. Stop spending countless hours every week on tasks that someone else could do for you. Contact us today to discover how you can reclaim your schedule, focus on what matters and achieve the growth you and your business deserve. Get started by visiting BELAYsolutions.com/services/assistance today.

Tricia Sciortino:

If you had to actually define for somebody, what is a brand experience? If you had to give it a definition, a sentence or two to summarize what brand experience really is, how would you succinctly describe that?

Dorian Usherwood:

Yeah, I would define it as all of the tangible and intangible touch points an internal or external person has with a brand, really and that’s simply. If you look at a great external brand experience, it’s one that creates brand ambassadors of people that aren’t even employees of that company. A great internal brand experience is how your employees experience the company, how they’re treated, guided, empowered, and the freedom you give them to do their best work. That experience demonstrates how successful you are at it, and the difference it makes is manifested in an employee or customer staying or leaving. If I can’t live without it, then my brand experience is consistent. It’s not about perfection, but consistency.

Dorian Usherwood:

And we’ll go back to the restaurant example, you can have an off day in a restaurant. Sometimes the main chef is not there so the food may not be exactly what it should be, but that should rally the rest of your business to say, we need to make sure we’re paying attention to the other touch points around this restaurant experience and this dining experience to make sure that the customers still leave with the same feeling, even though we may be having to an off day, and that proves it if you are consistent.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Well, we are so excited that you have joined BELAY as our VP of marketing, so I’m going to shift a little bit and I’m going to come back to BELAY here. What gets you out of bed in the morning and ready to hit the ground running in your new role?

Dorian Usherwood:

Sure. You know, my kids are older so I can’t say they’re the ones that get me out of bed in the morning anymore, but what I’ll say honestly, and I just shared this with someone just a couple of hours ago during a meeting is that I get an opportunity to work alongside A players that are dedicated to working hard, playing hard and living hard, and that’s something earlier on in my career when I was talking about Accenture, they really showed us how to work hard and play hard, and they’re still doing that consistently to this day.

Dorian Usherwood:

The past five years, living in Europe and watching how the Europeans approach their work life harmony, I like to think of it as harmony versus balance, that’s what taught my wife and I both how living hard is that third component. The reason why harmony makes a lot of sense is there’s going to be flux. Sometimes your workload is heavier, sometimes your life load is a little heavier, so you can’t play as much. But sometimes you do get an opportunity to take time off and then it changes again. So I think really for me, I have found a place where I can dedicate all of my experience alongside A players that really care about doing it well and leaving a legacy of having done it well.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. Well, thank you. Those are kind words. I think that we do that, yeah.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes, that’s our goal, right? That you can do all three of those things at the same time. So any recipes? What is your shareable recipe? Okay, I’m closing this out and saying, back to cooking, what is your… Okay, for a more novice chef?

Lisa Zeeveld :

For me, Dorian. For me.

Tricia Sciortino:

Right. We’re not doing a 24 hour broth and all the things. What is a go-to awesome recipe you want to share with us and maybe our listeners that’s a good download?

Dorian Usherwood:

If I could show you the amount of DMs that I have on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter of people asking me for the recipe that I just posted. That’s tough because it’s really in my head and I cook from my head and I look at what I have. If I’m doing something that I’ve done before, then the recipe is literally in my head, but I started about two and a half years ago actually writing a recipe book, so I have about 60% of my recipes written down. One of those recipes I’ll say that’s evolved, I’ve been cooking lasagna longer than anything else. When I was 18, the really good cooks in my family said, “Please send me your lasagna recipe.”

Dorian Usherwood:

I thought I had perfected it at that point, but I will say, my lasagna today is much better than it was when I was a late teenager, and to a point where I even make the pasta now. I don’t make lasagna without making the pasta sheets for the lasagna, and the silkiness that it creates, I can’t even describe it. Even the sauce, I cook the tomatoes down. I don’t use canned or jars of sauce. Everything is scratch-made. The only thing that I don’t consistently make from scratch are the herbs. I do plan to have a small herb garden here, but everything else, I do make from scratch. So I will post the lasagna recipe.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Scratch made.

Tricia Sciortino:

All right. This Italian girl’s looking forward to it.

Lisa Zeeveld :

And I’ll post. I’ll post because I’m going to make it now. I’m going to do it.

Tricia Sciortino:

Okay.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah.

Dorian Usherwood:

I could do a lasagna cooking academy at my home for those that are local.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Be careful. You may not know what you just offered us.

Dorian Usherwood:

Oh, no. That’s fine.

Tricia Sciortino:

But why are all these people at our front door?

Lisa Zeeveld :

That’s right. That’s right. Well, Dorian, this conversation has been so, so good, and it’s filled with so many great nuggets of information. We actually want you to hang out just a little longer after the interview to answer one more question for our subscribed listeners about some of the companies that do brand experience right. Is that okay with you?

Dorian Usherwood:

Sure, that sounds great.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Awesome, awesome. All right, guys. You don’t want to miss it. To hear that clip, subscribe to our email list and we will send you a link to our bonus content, or visit onenextsteppodcast.com where you can find a link in our show notes.

Lisa Zeeveld :

I’m so thrilled that Dorian was able to join us today. I love introducing him to the world and letting everybody know that we have awesome talent here at BELAY.

Tricia Sciortino:

Of course we do.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. So I’m going to go first this time, if you don’t mind, with my takeaway. I’m just going to step right on up here.

Tricia Sciortino:

Please, the stage is yours. There is no toe stepping here.

Lisa Zeeveld :

I know, because I’m so excited. Because the one thing that really hit home to me that I think is really great for our listeners to remember is that brand experience is about consistency. He said that several times, it was consistency, consistency, consistency. And I think that’s just really good to remember, and I think that can go, whether you’re a large company, a small company or, I’m going to take it off the rails here, even your own personal brand, it can be about consistency.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Ooh, look at that.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes.

Lisa Zeeveld :

It’s consistency.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes, yes, yes. You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right, how we really netted it down and simplified it. And I also like how he reminded us that your brand experience is an external facing thing as well as we know it to be, but there’s an internal brand you’re creating for your employees and your team members. Your brand isn’t just about how your customers feel about you, your client experience and those things. But it’s also about the team experience and how the team is connecting to your brand, and what it means to work for your brand and does everybody who work here have the same experience and is it a good experience and are we consistent with how we hire and train? And so I really loved how he pointed that out, that the brand is an internal and external facing facet of any business, so yeah.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah. And we talk a lot about culture too, and I think that that’s an important part of it. The brand experience internally is an important part of your culture.

Tricia Sciortino:

Oh yeah. And we at BELAY believe that’s what bleeds out into the market, is that our internal culture is actually reflected externally, and so that our clients and contractors get to feel that as well, and we hear it frequently, that our team members and clients and whatnot, they can feel that we have a good culture on the outside, and that to me is like, we’re winning if that’s the case, right?

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yeah, totally.

Tricia Sciortino:

Well, so as we wrap this episode, guys, I wanted to announce something exciting and let you know that Dorian will be joining the One Next Step podcast as a recurring cohost, so you’ll be hearing from him more in the future. He has seen and done a lot in business and we can’t wait for him to share more of his expertise and experience to help grow your business and your leadership. So welcome, Dorian, to the podcast. We’re looking forward to having you on some future episodes. I hope you guys enjoy him as well.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Yes. Oh my gosh. That is just amazing. I’m so glad that he joined the team and I’m so glad that he is willing to jump on One Next Step and share some goodness too, so that’s awesome. Well, you guys, as always, we have a download for you so you can take your One Next Step, and Dorian already teased it out. We’ve got a fun one for you. Dorian is sharing the recipe for his irresistible lasagna from scratch. We’re all going to try it, I hope you do too. So download it, try it, and let us know what you think.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah, I know I’m going to, so text the phrase One Next Step to 31996, or visit onenextsteppodcast.com and you’ll get access to Dorian’s recipe. Guys. Thank you for joining us on this episode, we will see you next week for another great episode filled with practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business one step at a time.

Lisa Zeeveld :

Start by making today count.

Lisa Zeeveld :

In next week’s episode, Chris Walker will join us. Chris is the CEO of Refine Labs and the host of the State Of Demand Gen. Podcast. He’ll share how differentiating your business from the competition will allow you to get more leads and drive more sales. Take a quick listen into our talk with Chris.

Chris:

If we at Refine Labs, so we have a company that comes in that is not aware of our differentiation at the time of the sale, we lose that deal every time. They’re going to be way more price sensitive, they’re going to be comparing us against commodity providers and they don’t value the additional things that we do and the different perspective that we have. And so I think that companies that are truly different need to focus on having everyone in the market know about that way before they get into a sales conversation. You can do that through media, you can do that through organic content, but I think the driver is that it’s content driven and you need to figure out how to distribute it effectively in the way that people actually consume it.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify, then join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence. For more episodes, show notes and helpful resources, visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

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