The Trend Report Podcast

Episode 105: The Importance of Thought Leadership
with Matt Spaulding of Spaulding Communications

Summary Keywords

people, website, content, industry, story, product, company, posting, written, brand, customers, matt, article, thought, chair, leadership, point, conversation, create, client

Sid Meadows, Host of The Trend Report
Matt Spaulding, President & Founder, Spaulding Communications

Sid Meadows:  Hey, friends, and welcome to this week's episode of The Trend Report. Glad you're joining us today. And I'd love the opportunity to introduce you to my guests. Matt Spaulding. Matt, how are you today?

Matt Spaulding:  I'm great, sir. Thanks for asking. How are you?

Sid Meadows:  I'm doing fantastic. Appreciate you being here, Matt, and the opportunity to get to know you a little bit. So please take a moment and introduce yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do. 

Matt Spaulding:  Thanks for having me Sid, it's an honor and a pleasure to be on your podcast. I'm a big fan of your podcast and what you do and your mission. And yeah, we got a chance to meet at NeoCon. And, you know, I enjoy surrounding myself with positive people who have an upward direction to themselves. So it's a honor, Thank you. 

Pleasure to be here with you. I’m Matt Spalding, the founder and president of Spaulding Communications. We are a Marketing and Public Relations firm that ostensibly works with brands and companies in the commercial architect design and construction industries. And we think our unique value proposition is we really help clients discover and promote what makes them great, what makes them unique. We believe every company has a story. Every company has something that makes them unique. And that’s our mission, to help those companies find that and tell that to the world.

Sid Meadows:  I really appreciate the kind words about the podcast. I always enjoy meeting people that listen to the podcast, and it is my goal to ensure that we're provided, even if we have difficult conversations, that we're providing a positive outlook about our industry about life. And, you know, there's something to be said about spreading a little bit of positivity in the world, especially in today's time.

We did meet at NeoCon very accidentally, actually. We're at the awards banquet Monday morning, and you walked up to me introduce yourself. And that led to this conversation where we are today. So first of all, thank you for being a loyal listener to the show. Thank you again for those kind words. And you just said something that I think is really important that we all remember, both individually and as businesses, we all have a story. And it's a story that needs to be told whether you believe it does or not, because your story has the power to really resonate with someone, impact their business, impact their day, impact their life. That goes for a business as well. Today, we're going to talk a little bit about thought leadership, because you do a lot of that, and the importance of thought leadership.

Before we jump into today's topic. I'm always curious to learn about how people get into the industry. So will you share a little bit with us about actually how you got into the contract interiors industry? 

Matt Spaulding:  Sure. I'll try to keep it somewhat brief. But again, We have a story and I have a story about this, and it was kind of accidental. My background is in agency life. I started in Chicago, one of the big agencies there in town, and then I moved to Atlanta in the mid 90s, dating myself there. I had bounced around from agency to agency, for a couple of years, and just wasn't finding a right fit.  I finally found what I thought was a really good fit for me at an agency here in town, it was a cool, integrated marketing firm, I was heading up the PR division of the company, and we were a small, firm, and then 911 happened. The agency owners basically brought us into a conference room, and they said, our clients are pulling back, we're going to have to shut down the Atlanta office. With that, I was faced with a decision, do I go to work at Blockbuster or flip burgers and get out of this industry? Because I just hadn't found the right fit.  Maybe it was the universe telling me time to go do something different or do I take that bold leap and try to go out on my own?  

So, I walked back to my office, close the door. And because we were a small firm, I was basically handling everything for three of the clients that we were doing work for, I called each of them. And I, shared they were going to get some news from our company leadership, but I wanted to let you know, I'm going to be going out on my own, and if it makes sense, and you want to work together, I'd be happy to keep our relationship going. All three of those clients came along and this was over 20 years ago. Over the course of the past 20 years, we're still working with essentially an entity of that client was in the commercial interiors industry.  

Sid Meadows:  So you are a bit of an accidental entrepreneur of somewhat forced into starting your own business, which then led you to a client that's in our industry. And now 20 plus years later, here you are, with a focus on the industry as a whole, not just furniture, not just architect, not just interior design, but the industry as a whole.

Thank you for sharing your story.  I always enjoy hearing how people get into our space, because, as I've mentioned several times before, it's not an industry that's talked about a lot.  You don't go to a college career day, and here's our industry and all that we offer. 

But you know, I'm just curious, what exactly is it that you do? I mean, you mentioned at the top, you help people tell their story and elevate their brand. But what does a marketing communications company do? 

Matt Spaulding:  Yeah, that's a great question and there's a lot of different ways you can look at that. At Spaulding Communications, we specialize in the written message, written content.  We are not creative firm. A lot of agencies do logo designs, website designs, do the creative visuals that that our industry needs. Where we come in is on the written side of things, from press releases on new products, or new company hires, to a blog, articles, website copy, and more.  

The reason why we focus on the content and the written part, is my background in public relations, which is all about writing. But the other part of that is, we think about telling your story, and having meaning to the story, you can tell the story in visuals in so many ways. Stories have depth to them, the best stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. There's some sort of drama, there's conflict, there's resolution, there's a hero. It’s our opinion, that stories are best expressed through written content. That’s a lot of our focus right now.    

We see our value proposition as helping companies get known for what makes them great. For example, let’s look at a company we worked with several years ago in the industry. As we learned more about them, we discovered that they were doing something really amazing in the sustainable and environmental area of their manufacturing.  We shared with them that no one else is doing this, so let's talk about how we can turn this into something that's a rallying point for your employees, get them excited and knowledgeable about what you're doing. Let's talk about how we can use this as a platform for engaging your customers and getting them excited. It became more than just visuals. It became articles that we promoted to the trade media.  It became articles that were used internally with employees to let them know. You can't tell a story, in our opinion, with just merely visuals alone, and you want it to have some depth and some longevity. So that's a long answer. 

Sid Meadows:  That’s a great answer lots of nuggets there. First, focus on written content, and storytelling, and I love how you shared the discoverability, of working with a client and something they were doing that was really unique and different in our industry. You pulled that out of them. You shared that in a written form and you basically, as I’ve said before, you help them sell their products without selling their products.  

I think that is such an important thing to do by telling a story. And we could talk on and on about storytelling, I don't want to stick there. However, a couple of weeks ago, during a coffee conversation in a large community of entrepreneurs that I’m involved with, this guy shared that he’s a professor at a college, and has a book coming out soon on content creation, and content marketing.  During our chat, we talked about writing, as I have done several blogs and was looking me up and shared with me that I have a blog that's trending. It happens to be the most recent blog I wrote, that is published only on my website about multitasking and that there is no such thing as multitasking. He showed me where it was trending, what the keywords were, etc.  As a solopreneur, I don't pay attention to a lot of that stuff, but we had another coffee a bit later that day and he showed me how to take that content, enhance it, so that it would be discovered more, with some backlinks as well as other links to websites and additional resources. He indicated that if I do these things, including update the article, that would increase the discoverability and bring more people to my website. d it's going to be discovered even more. 

The reason I share that story Matt, is because there has been a huge influx of people coming to my website and joining my mailing list. What’s interesting about it, at least to me, is that these opt-ins can be traced back to the article on multitasking. This underscores the power of exactly what you're talking about, telling a story in a written form. 

Matt Spaulding:  Absolutely. In the marketing world, this is a phrase that I remember from 10 years ago, but it's so true today is the phrase, “content is king”. You have to have content to keep people coming back to your website to keep people engaged with you. But here's the key, it's got to be meaningful content. It can't be just something that, we get caught up in doing, just fo the sake of doing.  Similar to, here's a picture of this great install, and it's just gets the who, what, when and why and where and that’s it.   

Again, it goes back to the story. You have to take that a little bit further. What was the challenge? Who were the people involved? How did you come up with that beautiful installation, that beautiful project for that customer?  You've got those, your listeners, and people in the industry have those. It’s a matter of figuring out how to tell those stories and putting content to it. And you know, the reason why content is king is because you can create some engagement, you can keep people coming back to your website. But when you have written content, it's shareable across so many different platforms, you can put it on your blog, you can take snippets of it and put it as a social media post, you can put it in an internal communication, there are so many different ways to maximize that one piece of content for all sorts of different marketing channels and communication avenues that you need to do as a company. 

Sid Meadows:  That is so good Matt.  What you just said is so good, and I have a lot of thoughts about this. But, we think that we have to keep creating more and more content, when in reality, you don't have to, you can take one piece of content and repurpose it in so many different ways.  

As you just said, you can take one quote, those two sentences, and you can tweet it. You can also take those three bullet points that you highlighted in that article, and make a carousel for it and post a PDF on LinkedIn that drives back to the article on your website or to maybe an article that you posted. Actually, on LinkedIn, there's so many things that you can do with just one piece of content. 

But I want to go backwards just a little bit Matt, the topic of this podcast is “The importance of thought leadership”, and your version of this is written, which is fantastic.  But let's elevate up for a minute and talk about what is thought leadership? First, I’d like you to define thought leadership, and then tell us why it's important. 

Matt Spaulding:  Thought leadership, in my mind, is very simple. It's, it's as simple as a company having a point of view. Now, you could look in a textbook about what is thought leadership, and you could talk to a consultant at McKinsey and Company or someone else about thought leadership, but I think it's simple is having a point of view.  If your company doesn't have a point of view, that’s where we come in, as it’ what we do, we help you discover your point of view. 

And the reason why we do it, is if you don’t have a point of view, you're caught in a sea of sameness. So coming with a point of view, to me, that's, thought leadership, and why that's important. Again, if you have a point of view, and it's different, it should be, hopefully, different than your competitors. Or maybe it's similar to your competitors. 

For example, you make product X, and it's very similar to competitor X, but if you have a point of view, and you can express that point of view, in multiple ways, over multiple iterations, and or your website, through a blog, through events that you're doing with your customers, that creates brand recognition and brand value. That is the higher level purpose of where thought leadership comes in, it gives you something to talk about, it distinguishes you from others, and it creates more value for your brand. Without that fuel, you're in a lot of ways, just treading water. A lot of companies are fine with that, if all other aspects are going well. But at some point, you've got to find that point of view and really accelerate from there. 

Sid Meadows:  I really appreciate that definition. As you said, thought leadership is about having a point of view. If you're a frequent listener to this show, and you follow me on social media, you know, I have a point of view and about a lot of different things. And I'm not afraid to share that. I'm not afraid to share my point of view, you can agree with me or disagree with me, but either way, let's have a conversation about it. 

My entire goal is to help move our industry forward, and to help our industry continue to grow and help businesses continue to be successful or find new ways to be successful.  But you have to share that point of view, you have to share what your thoughts are. As you mentioned, you can do that in written or other formats. 

But here's the thing, I think it's a circle.  Thought leadership leads to brand awareness, brand awareness leads to customers going to your website, looking for information or maybe more thought leadership, and that then leads them to engage with your content more, maybe they sign up to for your email list, maybe they enroll in a course that you're doing or maybe they sign up for a panel discussion that you're hosting. Now they have become engaged.  They've given you something that's very, very important in the world of marketing, which is their email address. By giving you their email address, they're saying to you, Hey, it's okay for you to talk to me, I want to hear from you. I like what I'm seeing here and I want more information. That one person that attended a panel discussion about a trend in the workplace, may not be a customer today, but next month, or next year, they might be a million dollar customer, and they got to you because they saw your point of view. They wanted to learn more and they consumed your content. Would you agree with that? 

Matt Spaulding:  Absolutely. That's a great example of how you can have a point of view on the workplace, and your products, do X for the workplace, whatever that is, it brings great aesthetics to the workplace, it brings better ergonomics to the workplace, whatever your thing is, you've got a point of view. Now you need to express it. 

So our products are going to bring healthier people to the workplace. Well, let's have a panel discussion and talk about what is a healthy workplace? What does that look like in today's hybrid environment? And how much can a manufacturer or commercial manufacturer of a furniture product contribute to a healthy workplace and let's have an honest discussion.  However, if you bring in your knowledge, you can also create additional thought leadership by bringing in outside experts. With this, you have the topic and you're connecting to other people, that brings credibility and helps with the thought leadership and then that's also, in that example of a panel discussion, another way of sharing your experience and knowledge. Be sure to create a pleasant, thoughtful, and engaging experience. 

You should also be thinking about who's on this panel? Why are we doing this panel? The same with the content on your website, when they come to your website, what's that experience like? Is the first thing they experienced when they come to your website a big, pop-up that says “Sign Up Now”, that’s in the middle of their screen, and they got to x out just to see your landing page?  That is a bad experience. 

It's not just about the content itself, it's about the experience as well, and that is tied directly to your brand. What is the value of your brand? Are you the quick and easy brand to get solutions and move on? Are you the thoughtful brand, are you the brand that gives multiple resources for people to consider?  All those things tie into who you are and how you do it. And that's your guideposts for how you create thought leadership content and how you deliver it and the experience you want the people to have with that content. 

Sid Meadows:  That's so good, Matt, I'm sure, as the listeners are listening to this, they all were nodding their head, when you said go to a website, and two seconds later, there's a pop up, join my newsletter.  It's so irritating.  The worst to me is you find an article you want to read and then you go and you read the first two paragraphs, and then you get a pop up that says, oh, to finish reading, pay us $9.99 a month to finish reading. Why post the article online in a public location if I can't read it?  That's just that drives me crazy. 

It all boils down to customer experience. I want to get really simple with this, if you go to someone's website, and you find something you like, and the only way to reach out to them is to complete a form, you've lost that customer, they have just bounced from your website, because you made it difficult, you made the experience bad for them! This is why, I tell people all the time, put your email address where it's clickable on your website, right there, so they can click and say I really liked this article, I'd like to learn more about what you do. Unfortunately, most brands require people to fill out forms! 

Matt Spaulding:  I think that's a great point. I couldn't agree more. I would say another key to thought leadership and your brand is people.  People want to interact with people, they create connections with people, we remember things through people. It's just so important, the example I shared earlier about how we helped the company, find out they were doing some amazing things with their environmental manufacturing processes, and this story needs to be told.  One of the things we did was ask them who are the people that are working on this?  From there we noticed that their director of sustainability was this really dynamic person and we realized we needed to get this person out speaking more, and sharing this knowledge with other manufacturers in the industry and what it means for the people that are specifying and buying these products down channel.  

It became a program where we were putting the sustainability director front and center. One of the things we did, to get tactical for a second, was we nominated him for a prestigious, nationally recognized Environmental Leadership Award. He won it!  He was up on stage with the sustainability directors and VPs from companies like Ford and Apple. This is a midsized manufacturing company,  and it was great for him personally and a jolt in the arm for that company.  He was recognized for the work that he did at our company and it was really powerful for this midsize company to be acknowledged with some of the big players not in their industry, but on a global perspective.  

It's putting people at the center of things. And you know, your comment about having an email there is great, why not put a picture of someone that they, the customer, is going to be talking to as well. These are all good points. 

Sid Meadows:  Matt, we could probably hang out on this conversation for a long time because you're spot-on, people do business with people.  Even though you may work for a big brand or a small brand, they're still going to do business with people. They may come to you because of the brand and the brand recognition, but the end of the day, they're still doing business with people. 

When I’m doing researching and I land on a company's website, the first thing I do is look at their homepage, then I go to their about page. I want to learn about them, I want to know who they are. And, if I go to their about page, and I learned nothing about their people, I've lost interest, because I want to know, who is the leader, who is the founder, who is this person or that person, I want to read a little bit of a bio about them and get to know them just a little bit. It’s just so important. I see so many companies that just don’t do that. It's like they don't open the curtain to let customers inside to see who they are. I think you should include faces, names, email addresses, and I don't necessarily say you have to put phone numbers, but definitely put email addresses where people can reach out.  Maybe there's a connection there something and I don't know, I think there's a lot that we could talk about just with that human connection aspect of marketing. 

Matt Spaulding:  That's a good point, and that's the other side. I think, too, marketing communications is there's one side, that is, generally speaking, the promotion side.  It's, here’s our new products, our services,  and here's our experts that you can talk to.  There might be something in there that that is, again, it's your point of view, it's your unique value proposition that needs to be highlighted and illuminated.  

But there's another part that companies have that they can use, which is their values. What do you stand for? What are your values. I've seen this before, in the past, at some companies, for whatever reason, they're reluctant to put employee names or pictures, or they're experts on their website, because maybe they're going to leave and like, oh, gosh, now we put that person out there as an expert, and now they're gone. Whatever the reason, but at the end of the day, your company has values, what you stand for, and I believe those are the kinds of things that should also be highlighted on a website and infused into,  your marketing materials, marketing messages, things like that. It brings a humanistic side to the business more than just, here's the suite of products we offer, here's why we're great, and take it or leave it. 

Sid Meadows:  I couldn't agree with you more. There's something to be said about empowering your people with thought leadership. You mentioned the guy that’s the director of sustainability, they put him out front and there's a lot of power in empowering your people with thought leadership, and even giving them some thought leadership to share, to let them actually going to be the voice because they should be the voice.  

We could actually go down a full rabbit hole with that, again, but you mentioned something just a second ago about brands and posting things and sharing things about their product. This what we do. I know we are a product driven industry, we need to sell products in order to keep our businesses open to generate revenue, to make profits, all that kind of thing. That's what we need.  We need to sell products, and I get it. But I see so many brands, just only posting about their products. And you know, I see all the way from dealers posting about a chair that got on special for $99. And they post that with a little bit of copy on LinkedIn, like come by my chair today.  I see other brands that have beautiful pictures and say, here's our XYZ product and then they don't tell us anything about it. They don't tell us any stories about it or how it's made. 

I see you're nodding your head, Matt, so you're agreeing with me, so I assume you've seen a lot of that. What would your recommendation be for brands to do things differently? Because, and here's why I'm asking the question, posting a picture of your product and say, here's our new XYZ product, visit our website to learn more, is checking a box that I posted content today. And that's my opinion.  

Taking it and describing it, telling the story around it, is a lot more about driving engagement. Because by checking a box, maybe you get three likes, maybe get one share, who cares, you just checked the box. But content is about engagement. It's about people liking. It's about people sharing, but more importantly, the two other things that it's about, is people commenting, and then people sending you direct messages about the story that they just read. What would your recommendation be that brands start to think about doing differently? And that was long winded, sorry, Matt. 

Matt Spaulding:  You know, that's the $65,000 question, right? Because at the end of the day, you want to showcase your products and for whatever reason, you know this, it seems like 99% of everybody in the furniture industry just shows us a picture of their product with no people in it. Again, we're a message firm.  We deal in the written content. It’s not necessarily outside of our scope, but I honestly don't know why that is. Maybe there's some creative design firms that could speak to that more, maybe someone who's looking at a picture of a product with someone in it, distracts from the product, and they don't want that distraction.  

But it does go back to a story. I think there's a place for posting a picture, a really elegant picture of the product in a setting where you can, as the customer or the designer, you can visualize that, wow, that would look really great in an open office environment, that's nice. But there is also the point, I think, which is, what you're getting to, telling a story. 

Whether it's designers or customers, they love a story about the product. I mean, think about the time when you, this is going to be a terrible analogy, but it's okay. You go to buy a shoe, and the shoe guy says, Okay, you're looking for a tennis shoe. Right? Okay. Well, here's the one you want it. But let me tell you about this shoe over here. Rod Laver, I'm dating myself. It's the tennis guy, Rod Laver and he had always wanted to design a shoe. Just for tennis players. I'm riffing here, this isn't the truth, but you know, and there's a story behind the new shoe that they're talking about.  It's a Rod Laver design and he worked with experts in the industry, this shoe has everything that a tennis player needs, because Rod Laver created it, it's the same thing. 

You've got a chair? What does this chair do? Other than, you know, $99? What was the reason for why, you as a dealer, or you as a manufacturer created that chair. Now, we all know that sometimes it's a me-to chair that you have to have to fill a product gap or something like that. But I think that's the story, right? This chair was designed to do A, B, or C. And here's why that's so important. 

So yeah, I mean, we meet with folks at NeoCon, and they're always introducing new products. And that's one of the first thing we say is you got to have a story about this product. Whether it's how the design was created, or how it fills a market need, or whatever the reason is, there's got to be a story behind it. I think, you know, to your example of social media posts, adding some sort of element to that post is going to be good. You could actually turn it into a story almost, you know, you could do maybe three separate posts of that product. But the content is a little bit different each time, and maybe the visuals a little bit different each time to match up with, how it originated, what problem that solves, and who it's perfect for, you know, those kinds of things it can, it can go a little bit deeper than just here's our product today. 

Sid Meadows:  What I find fascinating about this conversation is really challenging people to think different.  Think differently about what it is you're doing. Your focus is the written word. As you know, there are statistics about how many words that we read and those kinds of things, but whether you're posting an article, or you're writing copy for a website, or you're writing an article on LinkedIn, or publishing a blog somewhere else, whatever it is that you're doing that is written, you got to grab their attention. You want them to continue to read.  There has to be a reason, even in an email. If you've got an email that requires someone to scroll, you need to give people a reason to scroll below the fold. If not, they're just going to go hit the delete button because you haven't brought them in.  Statistics prove that, we as human beings, remember stories 22-times more than we do simple facts and figures. I want to know the story. Tell me the story rather than tell me about the chair.  Tell me about the how you're impacting the environment by making the back of the chair out of ocean bound plastics and the benefit to me as a human being. Tell me that story. 

Matt Spaulding:  Yeah. Or, who were the people behind that?  

Sid Meadows:  Yes. Who came up with the concept.  

Matt Spaulding:  Where did you go to find the inspiration for that chair? There's some reason behind it. It could be something like, our intern who started with us two years ago, was really concerned about the environmental impact our products were having and he or she was pushing us in a meeting and that forced us, as a team, to go out and look at different materials that we can use in our in our product lines. There's a story, there is a story, and it's a matter of finding that story and developing that story and it doesn't need to be War and Peace. 

Sid Meadows:  Absolutely, it doesn't have to be a novel, it doesn't even have to be 1000 words, you can effectively tell a story in 50 words or less, especially if you just put some thought into how you're going to craft it with a beginning, a middle and an end. 

Matt Spaulding:  I think the takeaway is to think about things in terms of a story.  The deeper meaning behind the product, who it's for, and how it's going to benefit them and who were the people that were involved with that. The other part of it is, to bring people into the fold, make them part of the story too, because people connect with people. I would also say, people love stories, but people always want to learn how to do something better. They want tips, they want hints, they want information. 

It's no surprise, you could go to any different website and it's three ideas to do this, five steps to a simpler, healthier you and so on.  The reason why those are so popular is because people gravitate towards them and it’s also another way to fuel your content.  It’s not only thinking about stories that you want to tell, but also the stories behind your products, your people, your values and what you stand for, but also coming up with content that can help your customers understand you better, or specify your products better, or engage with you better. 

It can be three ways to do this on our website.  You know that content that can be easily developed by anybody at your organization. And so again, doesn't need to be War and Peace. And it can be really simple. It's taking the knowledge that is inside an organization or inside a person or people and pulling that out and sharing that with your customers and your stakeholders. 

Sid Meadows:  So, I'm laughing and smiling at this because it's so good, what you just said about people want consumable content quick and easy. Whether it's written, audio or video, they want short, consumable content.

Matt, I think we could go on and on about this and as you know, our attention spans are getting smaller and smaller and smaller.  In fact, so much so, I’m sure you’ve seen that when you go on a website to read an article, that it says something like this article will take you four minutes to read.  They're saying, hey, it's only four minutes, even if you have to scroll 10 times, it's only four minutes. 

If you follow me on Instagram you know that in August, I did an Instagram Reels Challenge for 10 days. And one of the things that the coach highlighted was exactly what you just said about three tips.  If you go back and look at my IG content, my reels, you'll see that I'm either giving one, two or three tips, like one, two or three really short, consumable tips. I think the longest reel is less than a minute. But I had one that was 40 or 45 seconds. titled “Three things that all entrepreneurs need”, and that reel got almost 11,000 views.  Again, consumable short content. People really like three tips, here are three things that you could do to improve your health and well-being in your office. 

Matt Spaulding:  Yep. As content, its content. I would suggest that companies think about, your value proposition in no more than three messages. People are not going to pay attention to more than three messages. Keeping it bite size, keeping it memorable is really important. 

We work with a company in the industry.  I don't work for them. I'm not an employee, but I can almost remember their three value propositions. It's, it's work hard, play hard. It's care, and it's do the right thing. I mean, you know, those are memorable kinds of things. So whether you use bite size one or 1, 2 or 3 messages for your external marketing, like this is what we stand for. We're a company that does a, b, and c or whether you're just trying to figure out a way to really succinctly tell your values, you won't be thinking about no more than one, two or three key messages because it gets too long and people will just tune out after more than, three or four different types of things being thrown at him. 

Sid Meadows:  I'm going to recap us here, because we've been going for a few minutes now, and I've really loved this conversation. But what I've heard you say throughout this conversation is, know what your unique value proposition is, know your values, create content that tells a story that attracts your customer into your ecosystem. That's what I've heard as your message today, get out there and do it. But it starts at the core of knowing who you are, knowing what your values are knowing what makes you different, then start putting it out there start writing about it, to create that dynamic customer experience so that people come in buy your products.  

Matt Spaulding:  Yes, that's it. Now it sounds simple. But it is really hard. I mean, it is really hard. Because I think you could talk to three or four different people at an organization and maybe they each tell you something different about what makes them unique. You could go to your customers and ask your customers, what makes you unique? They might give you two or three different examples. It's easier said than done, but that's the challenge.  What is your unique value proposition? What's your point of view, and then figure out ways in which you can really express that in a meaningful way? That yes, engages your stakeholders, brings them into your ecosystem, and fuels your brand with good content. It's hard, but if you're dedicated to that proposition, it will pay huge benefits. 

Sid Meadows:  I'm going to add to that, I also think it's necessary, in today's world, as we continue to go more and more digital, and as our buyers continue to get younger and younger, it's important that we do the work so that we know how to communicate our message with the future buyer and the current influencer or the current specifier. They are emerging in the world, and they do not work the way that you and I used to work Matt.  The way they work is not the how you and I work, and people older than us do not work the way the younger generations work. They don't make their decisions they way we use to and their buying habits aren't the same as ours.  The world is changing and we have to be sure that we're changing with it.  It starts at the center, which is you, so go out there and do the work and get to know who you are, talk to your customers, and then start creating. 

Matt Spaulding:  Absolutely. 

Sid Meadows:  Matt, what a pleasure it has been to have you here. I love this conversation. We went down a couple of rabbit holes. But it was super valuable for me, and I know our listeners really enjoyed it as well. If any of our community would like to get in touch with you, Matt, what is the best way for them to do that? 

Matt Spaulding:  You can reach me on LinkedIn, Matt Spaulding,  or you can visit our website at

Sid Meadows:  If you do reach out to Matt, please let him know that you heard him here on The Trend Report and that’s why you’re reaching out!  Thank you again. It's been a pleasure to have you with us. 

Everybody go out there and make today great, and we'll see you again in a couple of weeks.

Matt Spaulding:  Thanks for that. I appreciate it.


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