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Using the Power of Humor to Grow Your Business | With Obedient Agency

Episode art

Humor is a great way to connect with your friends 1 on 1, but it’s one of the most difficult things to do right in marketing (1 on many).

Allie LeFevere of Obedient Agency has spent the last six years helping companies find the sweet spot between lame, lifeless jokes and cringy, over-the-top humor to get their marketing just right.

Listen now to learn how Allie has built her business from a two-person partnership to a thriving agency with 8 people on the team!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How you can make your brand memorable
  • Why your brand shouldn’t always fall in line with your personal tastes
  • What goes into good humor in copywriting
  • How Allie systematically creates amazing copy
  • Why being different is vital
  • How to crush objections before they’re mentioned by your clients
  • What happens when a robo vacuum meets a literal pile of sh*t
  • How to handle yourself with confidence
  • Why you don’t want to be the business who does everything

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Quotes 

“If you speak to everyone, you don't really speak to anyone.” – Allie LeFevere

 

“We're highly neurotically, organized, systematized people. If you saw our backend, you'd say robots built this, they are mental.” – Allie LeFevere

 

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Allie: [00:00:00] It's like all entertainment and no education. And I think it, like, it looks, it just becomes a bit of a

Chris: I find this personally

Allie: yeah. So this is targeted at

Brian: Thank

Allie

You're not my

Allie: an intervention. is not an interview. You've been lied all your family or your entire family's here.

Brian: Welcome to the six-figure creative podcast. I'm your host Brian Hood. I'm here with my big bald beautiful mustache, kind of creepy looking co-host but he's a big bald, beautiful lovable guy. Christopher J. Graham.

How are you doing today,

Chris?

Chris: thank you. I appreciate that. I actually startled a woman in my apartment complex just earlier. I like walked out the door and it's like my new neighbor across the hallway. And I think, yeah, she saw all this and the mustache and she went, I was like, it's

okay.

Brian: my God. That's the most Chris Graham thing possible. It just your existence startled.

Chris: Yeah, [00:01:00] she got really startled and then she saw, I was only wearing Lululemon clothing and was like, oh, he's fine.

Brian: Well, uh, so we have somebody sitting with us today that we always, we always like, if anyone has watched this show for the longest, like we just ignore our guests for like our intro usually. But, but our guest today is too good to ignore. So our guest today is Allie love fever. wouldn't know if she'd self-proclaimed, but I'll call her a pun expert.

And uh,

Chris: Oh, come at me.

Brian: she's the owner of the obedience agency. it's a humor focused branding and marketing company. And she's also the co-host of a little show called fan Gazprom, which is erotic fan fiction for pop culture things. And before I even like, get her to say a word, I want to read a few titles just to set the stage for this episode today, because this is like, this is like Chris grams.

Like this is, this is like the counter

to Chris Graham. This is

like

actual, funny, puns. Here we go. These are the titles of the fan guys and podcast episodes we've got in the star wars universe, Luke Skywalker. We've got the orgasm trilogy. We've got the rise of the sky [00:02:00] Winker and there's many, many more.

Those are just the three that I'm going to read here. Allie, look fever. Thank you for coming on the

podcast. How

Allie: Oh my gosh. Wow. What an intro? yeah, we just have to nod to Phantasm it. You know, it is a comedy podcast and we read a lot of absurd, ridiculous content. So you got to mix the erratic With the humor piece. So people don't think we're just a bunch of horn balls reading stories. It's not an audio book.

There is a lot of comedic commentary, but yeah, I thought you were gonna say the, my favorite title, which is a Harry Potter pun, which is, he, who is just not that Indio. I think that's what it's called. was some, some silly pun.

Brian: Oh, who? Me and my wife. We love Harry Potter. Like last time it snowed in Nashville. It was like, like the last blizzard we had here with like a foot of snow. We sat down and we just hunker down and watched every single episode or every single movie of the Harry Potter trilogy in there, or the Harry Potter universe in there.

But Allie, doesn't just do. Puns and, and comedy podcast, the obedient [00:03:00] agency is actually like a dead series company. They've worked with the Lea. They've worked with like actual brands that you've heard of. But I also want to say that just because she works at big corporate clients is not mean she doesn't have humor in what she does.

I'm going to read you one more line. And this is an actual, this is on the front page of your website, Allie. So this, you did this to yourself.

Allie: I know at one, you're going to say.

Brian: It's for the nut milk, joy, and it says, quote, nut milk. So good. You'll cream, your plants.

Allie: that

isn't, that is a real piece of copy that we actually wrote for a client. And they wanted to go in a very silly direction when they came to us, their running tagline was milk these nuts, and we actually took it to a slightly more family friendly place. Um, But when we came up with that line, I lost it.

I was like, oh my God, it's the most perfect thing we've ever written. I mean, from a, a dirty erotic perspective. And yeah, so,

but we do do a lot of non not erotic work. most of our stuff is PG, just, you know, for kicking things off in the most ridiculous [00:04:00] way possible.

Brian: to bring this back to a world that like our audience can somewhat relate to? Because no, no. I can guarantee you like maybe one person in our entire like listenership is writing, just ridiculous stuff on their website. First of all, you do it tastefully, like you do it in a way that isn't like really off putting it is so on brand, everything you do, I've like I've scoured your website and read so much and like done some research.

Like you are very on brand and you know who your customer is and you speak to them very well with your website copy and everything that you do. So I just want to frame it with that, but can you just give our listeners an idea of what you, in your words, the obedient

agency

Allie: Yeah. Yeah. So obedient is a boutique creative agency specializing in humor. So we do everything from kind of foundational branding all the way through, you know, advertising out of home, digital ads, things like that. And our whole ethos is fun cells. We think that there is just a better way to do branding and marketing and advertising.

Marketing is kind of like the big umbrella that houses, branding, and advertising. We think there's a better way to do the whole thing. Traditional marketing is [00:05:00] either very boring and forgettable and watered down and safe, or it's very predatory. And we found that when you use some form of humor, fun level, Which there are a million shades of that all listen to different consumer response, that it is the most effective way to both engage an audience build a relationship and have bring long-term value to your clients.

It's an incredibly memorable way to market and brand, and it's very under utilized because most people just don't do it that well. Or they do it from a very unstrategic place, which. If humor is deployed without some strategy or some thoughtfulness, it can seem very chaotic or disrespectful or. Just meandering.

And so, yeah, we decided to build an entire agency around that idea that there was just a better way to do this whole marketing and branding thing. And we've been around for six years as obedient. And we've got to work with some really great brands. Like you mentioned Lee, we work with native, we work [00:06:00] with choice organics.

We've done work with the Dallas Cowboys. So, you know, it's been really fun. And to also to be able to flex in so many different directions, which has been really cool too.

Brian: I mean, how many people are working as your

agency at this

Allie: There is. So it's myself and Lindsey, which are we're co-founders. And then we have a small team that we've worked with for pretty much the start. And it's a mix of copywriters and designers.

Brian: I'd be really curious to know when you were just starting this up, did you know that this was going to be humor focused from the very beginning? Or was that something he fell into?

Allie: No, we knew that that was what we based the whole thing around. That's even why we picked the name that we did. We wanted a very tongue and cheek name. We wanted a name that was very surprising. And that was a unique word that you had not heard a lot. And that as two women, we wanted to kind of take ownership of a word that was kind of used, In opposition to like the type of women we would want to be seen as, right.

And so it was definitely like we, we use juxtaposition. We, when we were coming up with names, so all of the names that we were initially [00:07:00] brainstorming were kind of in that vein, and we knew humor was going to be our central core idea. So fund cells was, has been our tagline from the jump. So when we were kind of building out this baby, we were coming up with the name and we came up with a ton of one-liners to go, how do we start to talk about what we do and how we think and how we approach things.

So fun sells became our kind of core tagline that became our brand promise. And then. We had a lot of like ancillary lines that started to like build out kind of the, the thinking process of our agency, because we knew that we wanted to niche ourselves. There's a million creative agencies. I mean, not as not to be disrespectful, but they're a diamond doesn't everyone calls themselves a creative.

And we've we've gotten a lot of, you know, purview into other creative agencies and they don't seem all that creative. And so we really wanted to say, okay, we, we not only are calling ourselves a creative agency, we're going to specialize in a thing that we think a lot of people can't kind of come into this world and stay there.

Also have like maybe an expertise around. So we really wanted to kind of focus [00:08:00] in because we knew that that was the type of work we wanted to do. And if a client was looking for that type of work, ideally they would stumble across us. And so a lot of our, you know traffic has come from either, is this work we do on social media or other client work we've done or.

Like organic Google search traffic because that's kind of our niche. And so people want humor agency, funny agency, like that's, they, they find us that way, which has

been

really

rad.

Brian: So I think I a hundred percent agree like this is something that sets you apart from day one, like humor was going to be the backbone of your agency from the start. And I know this because I found you through my wife. My wife is a copywriter and she's a big fan of your work and what you do at OBD and agency.

and everyone that I've talked to that knows about your brand loves your brand. And we, this going back to think yourself, because you did all the work that, that got that sort of brand recognition and response from people. So it's like, this is the response of niching down, knowing who you are and being confident in that and owning it, which is the thing.

A lot of our listeners biggest [00:09:00] problem is not being comfortable with who they are. And if, if let's listen back to episode 1 66 were interviewed Mike McCalla, wits he put out a new book called get different. It's a marketing book. And the whole pros of that book is better. Isn't that. Different as better.

And I think that you are like, you are living what that book is talking about. Like you have done this, but I want to, I want to put this, put this into perspective of our listener right now. Like I think humor can fit into a lot of businesses, especially creative businesses, because we are the ones who are kind of on the outs where the kind of the outliers in the group of people, like we're not the traditional path, we're not the corporate suit and tie path.

We are the ones who should have the freedom to add humor to what we do. But the problem is We're afraid to say things that you're not afraid to say. We're not, we're afraid to put pun titles or funny things like milk, so good. Old cream, your plants, like we were afraid of saying that sort of stuff.

So how do we get over the fear of being funny on anything that we do.

Allie: Well, I think that's a great question. And I [00:10:00] think that here's the interesting thing about it is I think humor the coolest. Funny and humor and comedy is that it's, it's not a one size fits all. So you have to find the style and tone and the tactics and approach that really worked for you and resonate for you.

I don't think shock value is necessarily the most eloquent form of comedy. I think that comedy is truthful. Comedy is honest. Comedy is surprising, and if you're in Probably in some marketing capacity, the whole goal of your job is to make people stop in their tracks and pay attention. And what I think comedy humor fun does that no other approach does, is it is surprising or good it's, you know, if it's good, it's surprising and it's, it's different and so unique.

And so it, it elicits the result that you're ultimately aiming for, right? Because if you say something boring or you say something bland, or you say something that everyone else is saying, no one is going to stop and pay attention to what your what's coming out of your mouth are coming out of your brand.

So you have to think of a way to say [00:11:00] creatively and unique. And so humor, I think really affords you a lot of opportunities to say things in like wildly creative, unique ways. So I think you have to, you have to really understand, like, what is your own voice?

So Lindsay and I, when we were developing obedient and kind of our tone for our brand. we wanted a mix of both like an authoritative voice, and then silly enough beat, which is very much our humor style and very much the way we kind of talk to each other. Right. We're very straightforward.

We're very blunt, but in a respectful way. We're and we're also very empathetic in, and then we're also very silly and playful. And so we wanted that to come through in our language. And so yeah, I think as we started to develop kind of, and what I would to say to anyone listening, as you start to think about how you want to speak about your own agency, If you are highly involved in the work you're doing, you want to find a way to like, let your voice shine through. Or if you're kind of building a broader brand, then you have to figure out what's the right voice that is attractive to your audience because every tone and every tactic and every humor style [00:12:00] elicits a different response, some draws out more respect, some draws out more kinship, some is more endearment.

So there's just a million different styles to play with. But I think the common denominator is that if you're building a business in some capacity, like you want people to pay attention to what you have to say. And if you're sowing, if you're always saying something that is a bit watered down in order to appeal to the masses, then you're never going to really appeal to anyone.

So I think it's okay. I don't think polarizing for the sake of polarizing is the right strategy, but I think you have to be polarizing to some people because if you, if you speak to everyone, you don't really speak to anyone. And that is going to put you in this camp of just everything. Everything gets harder in your job because then you're like, you're flailing.

And then you're trying to compete on price or try to compete on visual. You're trying to keep, like, everything else becomes stressful because you don't really have a a point of focus or a clear perspective. So that's kind of a long-winded way to answer your

question, but hopefully it's helpful.

Chris: I was going [00:13:00] to ask exactly like what you answered, like you explained everything and I

was going to bring

up. Yeah, totally like that. That was incredible. And I had kind of two thoughts with that one really, really quick story is that my kids and I watched a show about.

Comedy, what is comedy? And it was Mr. Bean. And the big thing that we took home from that show was comedy is surprising. There's no such thing as something that is funny and not surprising. And that, that was my, my kids have really gotten into that. And they've really tried to start mastering that. And it's been an awesome conversation with them, but one of the things you brought up that was so cool was that that's the point of marketing to the point of marketing.

And if you guys are listening to this and just glossed over that last section, go back and relisten to what Allie had to say, because in our industry, it's really common to run across somebody that just has the worst tagline ever on their website. It's like, you. know, your music, your way, your sound, it's [00:14:00] just totally like a McDonald's style.

I'm loving it. Blah. What does that even mean?

Brian: level.

Chris: Yeah, the next, your music to the next level. That's yeah, that's a real one

Actually. Hopefully my coaching clients, not listening to this right now anyways, but

Allie: Yeah, Bert,

Chris: we're going to

fix

Allie: this is where we just

rip

on everyone. This is like the, this is the roast portion of the

interview.

Brian: we're going to, we're just going on anyone that we've seen with

bad taglines.

Which is

Allie: We are than you. And we want you to know.

Chris: I can only think about one good tagline, one great tagline I've ever seen in all of the people we've interacted with on this podcast. And it was mark Eckert. Who's been on this podcast before and his old tagline in his website was I only give a about indie pop music or something like that.

Brian: No, it was a it's you, you butchered it a little bit, but that's kind of the gist of it. W we have a better tagline now, which is we're making a joke out of branding and marketing, which is obedient agency's tagline. So wait, wait a dis our own guest Let's get back to [00:15:00] our guests and our listeners here, because I really want to dive into this humor portion here and not like the three tips to make your marketing funny.

Like none of that crap, like, I want to know, you, you and your, your co-founder and your team have mastered what I would consider the, the science of humor. You've you've gotten this down to a science and we kind of touched on this a little bit in our pre-interview conversation where. You have built so many systems and processes and all this stuff that nobody in the creative world wants to touch because we're creative and we're, so we're so unique and snowflakes, and we, you can't put a system around what we do know.

You've put a system around it and you've dominated because of it. And you said this is because it frees you up to actually be creative. Can you talk about some the systems and science around humor as you see it?

Allie: Yeah. Okay. So let me give you the quick kind of science around humor, just dislike the highest of high level, and this is not humor as it relates to stand up. This is just kind of broadly how, or, you know, the script writing or anything like that. So I, you know, I don't want to speak for humor as a whole, but yeah.

The [00:16:00] kind of the broad science is, is there are three core emotions that release adrenaline into your system. They are fear, grief and laughter. And what adrenaline being released into your system does is it cements a memory? It locks in an experience and a lot of marketing is boring or bland. But the ones that do dive into those kind of three core emotions I think that humor is the only one that is maybe worthwhile or energizing or uplifting because a lot of people use fear to market.

You know, think of that. Maybe not you guys, but the way that women of my age have been, have been marketed to for my life is very much

If you don't look 19 w by the time you're 50, then you failed. Right? the, you know, it's effective and grief is also effective.

Think of save the children. Think of, you know, the, I will remember you, the, you know, that Sarah McLaughlin donate to the animals, right? Like th that works and then there's humor and, and, and humor is such a powerful way to cement an, an experience. And [00:17:00] when it comes to marketing and branding, when you see something funny and there's something that catches you by surprise, that makes you laugh.

It makes you . You remember it, like you remember, like P everyone always remembers the dollar shave club commercials, the old spice, or, know, all those, are you the caveman of Geico? Like the, you know, all those, they're like funny, and that's what, like, really lacks it. And you don't remember a lot of mayhem.

You remember kind of all those big ones. So kind of, that's a big, broad science. It's like, that's why it's such a powerful tool. In terms of kind of our systems and structure. So we kind of took that as like an overarching idea. And then we started to say, well, how do we systematize that, like this process, right?

as much as we're creative, we're highly neurotically, organized systematized people. If you saw our backend, you'd say robots built this, they are mental. But what we started to do is go, okay. We started to look across, across all the types of humor and we started to archetype and we started to, we come up probably 20 different [00:18:00] archetypes of humor.

And so when we, when we start a project, we start to, you know, there's a lot of work that goes into it, but one of them is that okay, Which of these archetypes that we developed and we built out entire personas, personalities, backstories you know how do they, what a reaction to they elicit in the audience, et cetera, like ha which one of these and which like amalgamation of these would really resonate with this specific audience we're trying to target and reach.

So we have like a whole formula and it's not like Axe fits with why it's not that simple by any means. It's very much like, you know, it's a formula every time that we're kind of mixing our own little, you know special tinctures, but very much like there's a structure to it because if you're trying to reach an audience where you want them to feel endeared to you, you're certainly not gonna use shock value.

Like that's not what, what builds trust necessarily or what, what makes someone inspired? Like that's a very different type of reaction you're trying to elicit. Right. So yeah, so we've have a very systematized process, which then allows us to, [00:19:00] like, once we have that framework in place, We get to go wild with creative.

Cause then once we understand, okay, this is like totally the direction we're taking, this is the voice. Then we start to be able to, we were able to build a cohesive brand. It's not like joke, joke, joke, anything flies. It's like, it's very much all moving in the direction of kind of the end goal that we're developing this very cohesive, unique specified brand voice.

And so, yeah, there's definitely a science and an art that are always at

play.

Brian: talked about creating these different types of archetypes. Can you, can you give example of what that looks like and what that is?

Allie: Yeah. And so like different archetypes. So, you know, there are different a million different styles of humor, right. And so you know, there is silly offbeat, absurdist juxtaposition. There is polarizing humor. There's clever and witticisms. There's very pun heavy. There's just, I could, I could rattle off a million different styles.

And so we've kind of developed. Archetypes that embodies [00:20:00] similar styles or like, so, you know, what did, what would it look like for a brand that was both a mix of a little bit silly and off beat or a voice rather that was a little silly enough beat mixed with like kind of dry, a little bit of dry tone.

They can kind of flex in both directions. So we, we like developed an archetype of like, this is kind of totally what it sounds like. These are some of the attack sticks we would use to approach a brand like this. These are some of the things that they would, they want to communicate.

These are some of the emotions they would evoke. And so we have, you know, upwards of 20 of those develop and again, we don't use them in any sort of cookie cutter fashion, but it really helps us and we have names for all of them. And so it really helps us. We can kind of look at a brand and like the first 15 minutes and go, oh, they very much seem like they should be.

You know, XYZ archetype because this is the audience we're trying to reach this. These are the psychographics we want to kind of keep in mind. And so this, this tone would be really effective at [00:21:00] eliciting that, and so, yeah, so it's, it's fun for us because like, I, again, like the more structure I think you have on the backend, it really does allow creativity to just go wild, because then you're not like paralyzed all the variety of choices you have to make, you start to have, you start to be able to pick a lane and it doesn't mean you have to be locked into it.

Right. You can flex in different directions, but definitely it helps to pick a lane and really start to like build things out and in one concrete direction,

Chris: would really love to hear more about, the joy brand so that you just talked about systems and different types of humor. So I'm trying to keep this appropriate, but like when you guys first saw the joy brand, were you immediately like, oh, Dick joke all the way, like, like how did, what was.

Allie: Not necessary. It looks great. So how that started is that they came to us and they're, they're really the only piece of copy they had associated with our whole brand was milk these nuts. And they had basically gone to a a big conference, a food and beverage [00:22:00] conference to kind of promote their brand.

And they wore these t-shirts that these knots. And it got a ton of response and a reaction rightfully so. Right. It's pretty jarring to see aggressive of a statement. And these, you know, the people that started this brand they knew what they were doing. Like they, in terms of they had started other companies before they had funding in place.

They wanted to kind of start with a little bit more, shock value a little bit, but then when they came to us, they wanted to start to walk it into a different So when we gave them. The cream, your plants line. That was really an outlier line. We really gave that to them because we thought it was funny and it worked with their old voice.

And that's really the only line that is totally in that direction. Like the, the tone we took is a little bit more like with them is, was straightforward. We'd kind of took a, a little bit more of a bet. You didn't know straightforward, dry humor tone, a little bit mixed with a little bit silly beat, depending on where we were [00:23:00] playing.

So for example, a kind of the main. Tagline for them became, so they were a new category in the market. So let me just back up a hot minute. They were not necessarily, they weren't nutmeg. They were a new category in the market. They were an not based concentrate where all you had to do is add water and you could make your own nutmeg milk at home.

I don't know if you've ever made nut milk at home. I have, it is a disastrously messy process. And if you buy it in the store, there's a lot of generally a lot of additives and lot of it strips out a lot of the nutrients, et cetera. So they were a one ingredient product where you literally just added water, throw it in the blender.

And you had like this creamy, delicious not milk. And it was awesome. It's actually a really good product. I would highly recommend it. I don't get any kickback

Brian: will, I will genuinely give it a try. Yeah.

Allie: They are, it's honestly delicious. And you can, depending on how much water you add, you can make it more creamy. That's like a creamer versus a more of a milk.

Anyhow. And so we had to introduce that product into the market. And so the, the running tagline was bet you've never tasted almond milk. we [00:24:00] wanted to kind of make, have the audience go, huh? Like what could they mean by that? Because the whole idea was if you've had it in the store, you've had a water down, you know, additive Laden version.

And if you've made it at home, you've probably stripped out a lot of the good stuff too, because you're trying to, you remove the liquid part from the actual nuts. And so you kind of lose a lot of, again, the nutrients in the process. So we wanted it to be like a surprising opener. And so a lot of the copy stem from that idea.

And then we had like some more of the long form copy was very silly. Like we made jokes about almonds floating on a raft to, in, you know, in a, in the nut milk. We, we created like funny scenarios and, and so yeah, like that kind of. shocky shock value language was really just, we think it's really funny and it was just like a fun one-liner we gave and they think, I think they tested it out on like a social and it did get reactions.

Chris: On and,

Brian: No no Chris

say no to

Allie: I

Brian: no Allie, [00:25:00]

Allie: do. I have to be

Chris: You

Please rip me up here. I would have the idea that comes to mind for me is something like Allmand milk, utter lead, delicious

utters.

Brian: come,

Allie: Or but the problem is it's not utterly

Brian: Thank you, Allie.

Allie: Not, utterly delicious.

Chris: no, there it is. That's so much funnier. Not utterly delicious.

Allie: have

to it, right. Because it's, it's not, there's no utters

involved.

Brian: See everyone just witnessed Chris's anti humor, which is not funny, mixed, and how she spun that around quickly and made it funny.

So let me, let me, let me kind of spin this a little bit and just say like, I love your approach to this.

I'd love to know. When you were actually branding yourself, because let's think about the creatives listening to this podcast right now. Like they may be interested in CRE inserting humor into their brand, but they're not a nut milk company. They're not a big brand. They don't have like a team of people.

They don't have a whole agency around them. They may not even [00:26:00] have experience, but they, they can, they maybe have some humor deep down inside of them. Like how, how, how did you go about when you were early on branding obedient agency? Like what are some of the things that our listeners can go themselves and exercises themselves to start to at least be different or start to, to test the waters or just to start adding humor in, in a way that starts to build confidence?

Because I know no one's going to put a line like that. Nutmeg based plant, whatever milk out into the world as their first thing, they're not going to go shock value. Like how can, how can we test the waters and dabble or, or start more humor into our brand, Allie.

Allie: Yeah. Well, here's the thing too. I think it can be tricky, right? Because I think like people think of humor as like joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. I think you have to have a core idea in mind. Like, what is your brand's promise? Like what are you trying to say? How are you trying to differentiate yourself?

What's the thing that you offer the no one else does. What do you believe? What do you value? How do you think about the world? Cause you, whatever you try should be cohesive. Because I think when [00:27:00] humor doesn't land is when it looks like chaos, it's just a three ring circus, and there's no point or purpose.

And it's like jokes. It's like all entertainment and no education. And I think it, like, it looks, it just becomes a bit of a

Chris: I find this personally

Allie: yeah. So this is targeted at

Brian: Thank

Allie

You're not my

Allie: an intervention. is not an interview. You've been lied all your family or your entire family's here.

Um, So, okay, so that's kinda the first layer. The first thing I'd say, so like that's a big process right there. And so getting that right then, we used to teach a workshop a long time ago called laugh lab. And we would start to, you know, I think you can't really teach people to be funny necessarily or teach people how to write overnight.

I mean, that's like a D we've been doing this for 15 years, so it's like, we've been holding our skills for a long time. And I think sometimes you're just like naturally good at certain And naturally things come a little bit easier. Right. But [00:28:00] what we were, one of the things I, one of the exercises we taught is that, sometimes it's helpful.

If you want to start to think of funny lines is what are the worst criticisms you could get? Like, so what is the worst thing someone could say about your brand? What's the worst pushback you could get? What's what's the worst insult you could have received. We used to call this thing, insult yourself. So we would have we'd pack people, go through an exercise where they kind of insulted their, their own brand.

And then from there, you start to think, like, how would you combat that? How would you address that? How would you bring transparency to that? Um, So let me give an example. I'm trying to remember one from class. So we were in there doing a workshop and one of the gales had a. company where she, it was packets of like superfoods that were, that were like put together for you in a package and you would just literally dump it into your smoothie.

And, and so some of her pushbacks were like, why would I pay you to do that? I can do it myself. Like I can get all these ingredients and package it myself. And so the pushbacks [00:29:00] became funny around things like, but we know you won't. Yeah. Says everyone January 1st. So we were like coming up with funny one-liners is like, if you think about what the criticisms are, the insult or the pushbacks, what are funny rebuttals, and then you can start.

That's just like one thing. I mean, that's not like all your language is just like on the muscle. Right. But there's funny ways to start to, cause I think what you can start to do is pull out your benefit and your value based on the things that people may be pushed back against because. Like that was a funny one, just because yeah, there are, I'm sure there are people who would do it themselves.

I make my own smoothies and of course I'm going to dump in my own ingredients, but guess what? Most people don't do that they don't want to take the time. So they want kind of an easy process. And so it's funny to, to speak to who your audience is, and sometimes it's helpful by knowing who your audience isn't.

So, it's probably a little confusing to hear from an audio So I apologize if I I'm trying to make it as clear as possible. I, hopefully

example was

helpful.

Brian: the

entire [00:30:00] time my brain is going, like with six figure creative, our brand naturally just sounds scammy as hell six-figure in it.

I'm

just thinking like, how can we just call out that and diffuse it with humor? Because you know, there's a brand promise in there because obviously we talk about money, but at the same time, we're not just one of those like gurus and gurus on the internet, sitting in front of Ferrari's with like our $60,000.

Rolex is on like flexing how much we make. Like, we, we We talk about real business stuff that you have to know as a creative, so that

it gives me something to

Allie: that's, a good direction, right? So then maybe those are some things you call out in your Like we aren't, you know, we aren't the gurus and our Ferrari, but like, you know, so it's finessing again, you don't want to lose the thread of who you are and you don't want to get caught up too much in what you're not, but it is a really fucking comedy is truthful.

So like, you know, that, that breeds some self-awareness that brings some self awareness to the table. Some transparency, some honesty, some humanity. So those are, that's already a fun place to play. I think, you know to mention the great Taylor swift, right? [00:31:00] She had that whole, I don't know if you guys are familiar, had that whole beef with like Kim Kanye, not going to get into that, but they called her a snake.

So she made her entire reputation tour with snake iconography. She actually won an award because she had this beautiful stage with a huge snake looming over the top. So she took that insult and owned. It, took her power back and then made it into a joke and made it into a really funny way to brand her project.

Brian: like, to me, that's like humor 1 0 1 is like, and really showing confidence and showing that you're, you're the dominant, like alpha not to get into that world, but like, say like when you take the wind out of somebody's cells and you are literally like, it's the self-deprecating humor thing where you're pointing, you're taking any joke that they could possibly throw at you and making a funny before they can ever before they can ever hold that insult at you.

Like, I, I like that approach as long as it doesn't get too self-deprecating and too extreme

Allie: Too extreme or too on the muscle. I mean, I know if you guys have ever seen the movie eight mile I'm from Detroit. So, you know, of course that's in [00:32:00] my Rolodex of must-see movies, but in the final rap battle between M and M, who was his character and then Anthony Mackie, who was supposed to be the best rap battler, you know, in Detroit M and M's verse is all about stealing the thunder from Anthony Mackie.

He keeps throws every insult at himself and he leaves him high and dry. So when he goes to rebuttal, he has nothing left to say, so he, and it's hilarious because he, you're probably gonna insult XYZ. You're probably going to call me a loser. So he kind of steals all that. So again, do I think that that's the strategy everyone should take?

Absolutely not. It's just like one way to start expanding your mind about funny ways to kind of reframe your business start to talk about your value.

Chris: have a funny story about this of how I had an experience with this exact idea. And I'm like a brand new convert and it's so encouraging for me to hear you say this milk. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That sounds, that sounds right on,

Brian: Now before you go to the story, Chris alley, [00:33:00] you've got to rate them out of 10. If this is a funny story, to 10. So go ahead and tell

the

Chris: So I'm a, I'm a business coach. That's the main thing I do. And I teach people that systemization, and as I've worked with people, the main objection that they have is like, well, why couldn't it build the systems? You know exactly the same thing as, as the, the powder.

And so a couple of weeks ago, well, a couple of months ago, I was like, all right, I need for my apartment, one of those little robot vacuum cleaners, and I got online, I was like, man, you know, I could get like the $900 fancy one, or he could get the $100 off-brand one. I'll just go a hundred dollar off-brand one.

It's not a very big apartment. It'd be fine. So I bought it and every day at two o'clock, this thing would turn on and it would vacuum my entire apartment and it was awesome. And then I met somebody and his name, his, this is his debut on the podcast. This is Buster. Gimme a sniff Buster.

Brian: If you're watching on YouTube, you can see him. If you're white, if you're listening to the audio, then you can just maybe hear Chris scratching the dog. I

Allie: well, Chris has an unfair advantage because I'm a dog lover. So his story is automatically a because Buster has [00:34:00] made an

Chris: So Buster made another type of appearance in this story right around, say, let's say one 30 Buster took a big old dump on my. While I

was at my office

and my vacuum cleaner turned on. And because my vacuum cleaner was not a good system. It didn't know the difference between Buster's poopoo and my carpet.

And it thought it cleaning. This robot thought it was cleaning my apartment, but instead it made my apartment dirtier than any apartment should ever be under any circumstances

Brian: because it just

Chris: it

Allie: It's

it? was smeared a

Chris: a poo

Poppa lips, poo CAPA lips. And this happened and I came home and I was like pissed.

And I was with my kids and I'm trying to like stay calm and I'm cleaning up the poop. And I realize this is why you shouldn't build your own systems because you don't want a system is worse than no system. And anyways, that's, my, my

closer.

Brian: it

Allie: I think it's, well, I think it's the, [00:35:00] it's like when you know, you get what you pay for better or worse, I think the entrepreneur landscape has taught everyone that they can DIY everything and they can learn everything and a six week workshop and they can figure it out in six easy steps and it's like, okay.

Let's not pretend you're, you know, you can learn everything in eight weeks. There are just some people who have an expertise at something and you should invest in the expertise and, and then sometimes it's just reinvesting yourself in the thing that you're really good

Brian: Allie. How how do you balance that out? How do you, how do you effectively attract clients to your agency without over promising, without being that in six easy weeks, you'll lose 90 pounds. Like any, any of that crap? Like how do you, how do you balance like the humorous side of things with the client acquisition side of things, with the right messaging and all of together?

Like how does that tie it together for your agency?

Allie: yeah. Well, I think that we do not go after like the solo preneur necessarily [00:36:00] crowd. Right? Cause I think that that's a very. Message. I think a lot of times that they're often like, you know, it's a big investment when you're, self-funding your dreams and your, and your endeavors. So I think that there's often a little you do want, you know, to, for us to change the landscape and change their whole world and make them a millionaire overnight by writing their, you know, their ads or whatever.

So I think that part of it is we have very specifically gone after like larger brands and companies and corporations only because I think sometimes they're a little bit less precious. what we can promise we can't control for all of their systems. We can't control for where they place their ads.

We can't control for who's, running their Facebook account. We can't control for you know, who is developing your marketing strategy. But what we can promise is that there is no one that will have developed your creative in the way that we can, like, it will be surprising. It will be unique. It will be well thought out.

It will be you know value, give it will, you know, drive forward your [00:37:00] benefits and your, the features of your service. It will be both educational and entertaining. So we don't try to promise necessarily the results because you can't control for everything. You know, there's even things where we. All the ad copy and it ends up in a designer's hands outside of our agency.

And so sometimes we write a really bold punchy line and it ends up in lavender script. And so we can't control for things like that. So I think what we can promise is like, you will work with people who are incredibly professional and thoughtful, highly creative. I promise you will not get a single line of copy that you've seen anywhere else.

We will bring a fresh perspective. You will, we will delight your pants off. Our processes are very fun and entertaining. We have never missed a deadline. Like there's a lot of things we can bring to this process. But I think part of it is that like, I think people think you need to over-hype all the time, but I think if you show, like if you show, like, for example, we are, we've taken an approach where we try to show more than we tell, because if you see the work and you like the work we've done, then like, yeah, we can do that for [00:38:00] you too.

As opposed to just giving lip service to everything. I think that's where you get in trouble when you over-hype things. I think if you over promise, then people are always going to be disappointed. We'd rather like blow your mind. It's not that we under promised by any means, but we want to be very realistic of here are the things that we can promise and we can bring to the table.

Because I think it's, yeah, I think that, you know it's easy to, to think a piece of copy or a new brand name is going to change the game, but there's so many other factors to keep in mind.

Brian: So I want our listeners to pay very special attention. If you didn't catch all of that, she just said, there go back and relisten to her last one, three minutes of audio or something because she did something that I don't think anyone really probably caught. And that is when, the way she spoke about her own business.

You could tell the excitement how proud she is of it, how confident she is in her business. And there's something that I've, I've been learning more and more. And that is the weight, how effective you are at selling yourself as a freelancer, as an agency owner, selling whatever the hell you're selling, the more you believe in what [00:39:00] you do, the easier it is going to be for you to actually sell what you do.

And not only does she believe in what she, she does like wholeheartedly. I know you do. I know you believe in your team and your product and your business and your processes and your outcomes, but you very clearly were able to articulate and lay out how you are different from all the other creative agencies that are out there.

And I think that most people listening right now cannot do that. so take anything away from this conversation, it is being able to articulate and have the confidence in what you do that allergists had in those last few minutes there. So those are, those are my thoughts.

Allie: Well, I appreciate that, Brian. So let me just add to that because I obviously think confidence comes with longevity sometimes. Right? I think that's part of it, but it also comes from in our case, I think having a specialty so we know what we're excellent at and we know what we don't do. And I don't think we promise.

Things outside of our specialty. You know, we don't [00:40:00] pretend that we are the best people to hire for a go to market strategy in terms of like, what levers should we pull on? What platforms like, that's not what we do. We are a creative agency. So we kept to keep all those things in mind and we want to, you know, figure out the best creative way to play on each of those places.

But we're not developing the PR relationships. We're not doing any of that. So I think it's really important that you are honest about what you're excellent at and what you, you, aren't the best person for. I also think like just from a sales perspective, so I do all the sales in our company and I love it because I just like talking with people and I come from a, of a family that everyone is in sales in some form.

And I think what I've always loved witnessing is my family is very warm and they're very friendly and they're very gregarious and they, they go into and know from growing up, hearing these conversations, it's not. I there's no desperation. Like you're either, like I'm excited. I believe in what we can offer you.

And if we're not for you, that's cool. And so [00:41:00] I try to approach every sales in air quotes conversation with just, how can I give value? How can I listen? How can we have a really good conversation? And at the end of the day, We aren't a fit or we aren't a match then like that's cool. And it doesn't mean it doesn't bum me out if we don't win business.

Of course it does. But I just know that, like, we're not going to twist ourselves in knots to try to get everyone. We're not going to change our pricing structure to win people. We're not going to, you know, we've had people say, Hey, you guys are so good. Can you do something? Not that funny? And we're like, no, that's then go to a different agency.

Like, you know, we can write in any style, we can write the most brilliant, boring copy on the planet. But we don't want to do that. So it's like, you also have to kind of have confidence and ownership in your conversations. We have budget conversations with clients. I talk about it right out the gate.

I'm transparent. I don't hide anything behind a curtain. I just figure that again, the best comedy is truthful. I think the best sales transactions are truthful [00:42:00] as well. And you don't have to be for everyone. You will be for someone and that's, that's great. And when you win that business, that's when it's really exciting.

You're going to always feel bummed. If you, again, twist yourself in knots to land a client and you've sacrificed your values, your expertise, your morale, your investment, your budget, whatever that is your pricing rather. So yeah, I think that, that, like, I do think that that all adds to the confidence of the selling process and I know people hate it, but get on a phone.

And talk face-to-face with people. I know, you know, I'm in my thirties and I know that that might be a little bit more comfortable for someone I'm going to totally date myself. And I don't mean to be you know, to try to bucket people into certain things. But I, you know, I, I feel like I did grow up with out the internet in parts of my life.

And so I'm very comfortable talking face to face and I think it, it makes a huge difference. When you look someone in the eye, you have a face-to-face conversation, then if you're only dealing via email, like there's no rapport there, there's people misread things. It's I know [00:43:00] it sucks. I know it's scary, but you know, there, people are so much more wonderful when you can just converse with them and there's so much more forgiving.

And so I would highly encourage people to weave that into their sales process if it doesn't exist in

Brian: So, my wife and I just kind of touched on that, what you just said there. And I have one more thing to bring up. I know we're getting towards the end

I want to, respect your time. But my wife and I, from the first day we started dating, we had a policy which was no texting series conversations.

And it was for the exact same reason that don't close clients over text or email or DM anymore. It's too much can be misunderstood, misconstrued blown out of proportion, taken the wrong way. just in the tone, out of the. Not the way you wrote it on the, on with your thumbs or your fingers.

the way you say something is not the way you type something or the way that thing is read. So really important. It was really important for our relationship and why we're still together to this day. But yeah, so I wholeheartedly believe in phone slash in-person sales, and I even made a YouTube about it a couple of weeks ago.

But you, you brought up something that I [00:44:00] want to, I have to bring up really quick. I don't remember what it was and everything you just said. Cause you're dropping so many incredible golden wisdom, which I knew you would do,

Chris: I don't think anyone's ever gotten a rewind and listened to the last three minutes. One more time, twice.

Allie: Okay

Chris: That's

wild.

Allie: this is the

best

Brian: Yeah, you're the first one to get the rewind and listen the last three minutes, twice in one episode,

Allie: you're going to make me cut. You're gonna make me cocky now. you guys have done what, how many hundreds of episodes

Brian: hunter and your, your 177.

Allie: Oh my Lord.

Brian: this is a topic that I think is very contentious and we, I don't want to go on too long here because we're at the end of our conversation here, but the amount of services someone offers in their business you offer three core areas, which is branding, digital and advertising, but it's really like 13 services that you offer.

And I'd love to know your thoughts on specializing in one service. And when you find time, when do you think it's appropriate to add another service and what it is that you do without watering yourself down?

Allie: You know, it's it's honestly a really good question. It's something we talk about constantly because. we have thought a million times about [00:45:00] streamlining and even offering less services, but then you get these great clients that come in your inbox and they want this like really weird, specific niche thing.

They're like, oh, can you help us brand a truck that travels to different cities? And you're like, okay, well that wasn't on our service page, but that's really rad. What if we talked about that more, when people, more people hire us for that, we had someone reach out and say, Hey, would you guys ever write a jingle?

And we're like, ah, that'd be our dream to write a jingle. But so it's tough. I, you know, I don't even know if I have an excellent answer for that. Other than I do think we try to at least bucket things into three categories because we thought that that at a minimum would help people kind of take some of the confusion out and go, okay, like, let me see where I fall.

Even in here.

Yeah,

Brian: Because looking at your site that did make it a lot easier for me to understand what it is that you do at OBD agency.

Allie: Yeah. And we're actually going through an entire rebrand internally. So our site in like three months from now will look radically mean, all of our copies, changing, design, everything, cause we're kind of, you know, upleveling [00:46:00] and upgrading in terms of how we talk and how we think and how we, you know, approach projects as well.

But yeah, you know, I think it's hard because you don't want to limit yourselves, right? Like there are, you know, especially like for us, we can, we can write words and we could come up with like cool concepts that live everywhere. But then you don't wanna overwhelm people. So, you know, I kind of, our hybrid approach has been, at least if we bucket things into specific categories and at least highlight kind of the main daddies that people come to us then at least that's a starting point and our whole intake questionnaire, like when you do an intake form on our site, it's very.

I think it's really helpful for us because we ask a ton of really thoughtful questions there and it's entertaining as well. But we ask a lot of questions there, so we can start to kind of hone in a little bit more on what people are looking for because sometimes people think they need this really complicated, layered thing.

And it's like, oh, you mean social ads? Like, you know, like they're calling it all this. Like, we need a strategy to approach people on Instagram, but it's like, you mean like social ads, you know? [00:47:00] So sometimes that's why it's good to like, gather that information up front, have a, again, we always have on a call.

I happen to call right away and I talk to people because I just try to help them make sense of what they really need and what they're looking for. So, yeah, it's a good, it's a good question though, because I don't think we've solved for it entirely Brian, but I think asking the right questions and then having a conversation is probably, and then categorizing things on our site has been probably the best approach

Brian: Yeah. I just know, I just know that's a common issue in our, in our world is creatives. It's like everyone wants to offer every service that ever existed. And I see that you offer 13 services. So I wanted to hear your thoughts on that. And, and just thinking about this further, I think that the reason you can do this is because you have one very specific promise that you make, and that is humor.

That is the promise, and that is your niche. And so you're not trying to niche down and the service that you offer, it's more about what area do you want to add humor into your, into your, marketing and that's, and that's how you do it.

Allie: yeah. That's a good point is like that niche really allows us to have a more expansive service list because everything is still going to run through [00:48:00] that lens.

Chris: brilliant.

Brian: I think that's a good place to kind of wrap this conversation up. I do want to mention one more thing that I forgot to bring up this worth kind of finishing here, and that is your, your call to action to get on your mailing list for fan gazumped the podcast. It says sign up for our booty calls, emails.

So good. You'll be glad to hear from us enter your email address here and your call to action for the submit button says, yes, daddy. That's one of my favorite opt-in boxes I've ever seen for a newsletter. And it's a really good example of how you use humor to stand out and actually get people to opt in.

I'd really be curious what the opt-in percentage is on that page. If you know that, tell me if not, it's fine,

Allie: I mean, I don't know it by heart, but I know it's pretty high. And also too, you have to imagine that people who find us and are even interested in what we're doing is so just to kind of bring some, a little bit more clarity to what it is. So Phantasm is a comedy podcast where we read the most ridiculous often erotic fan fiction on the internet about your favorite pop culture fandom.

Brian: It's incredible concepts You're [00:49:00] a very popular podcast, by the didn't mention that people. I could see.

Allie: It's very silly. Don't know. I don't mean to cut you off Harry Potter, game of Thrones, star wars, Marvel, office parks and rec stranger things like we've done a uh, a million teenage mutant ninja turtles. We did a story. It's very silly.

Brian: the office fan fiction though.

Allie: It's all fanfictions it's bonkers and it's the best. And it's hilarious. And it's so weirdly well-written and the characters are so spot on. It's just the most delightful thing. so we, again, we, we created a very niche podcast. Basically, so it's three of us now, but Lindsay and I, my business partner, we created it.

It was initially went by Potter Radhika. It was only Harry Potter. And then we decided to expand into other fandoms and then rebranded it as fan Gazprom. So if the first three years, I think we were just, or maybe first two, two and a half years, we were just a Harry Potter and our cover art, which was, was so silly.

It used to be. Like a drawing of Harry Potter and Hermione, and like, they look like a romance cover, like the [00:50:00] old Fabio early nineties romance covers in like an embrace. And then we were branded to broaden the fandoms. And now it's a stack of books with like very silly puns make very clear

Brian: Which are

all fantastic. Go to podcast.com for that. So for our listeners, if they want to connect with you or learn more about you or whatever they want to do, like where do you want to send our listeners other than the fan Gavin

Allie: oh my gosh. Well, come check us out at obedient agency. The opt-in there is really, so you'd probably be to don't know that until you opt in, but when you opt into our site there, so we send out a mix of emails. We do this in called Ken. They brand that, where we do a brainstorming game, where we pick a brand, set the timer for 20 minutes and brainstorm as money, creative taglines one-liners campaign ideas, as we can.

It's actually been a really awesome marketing for us. It's how we've landed some of our bigger clients, which has been rad.

Brian: clients? you, do you try to brand clients that you actually want to work with as a means to

Allie: Yeah. And we, we were like, Hey, let's show them what we can do. You know, [00:51:00] like in 20 minutes, it's how we landed native as a client. Matter of fact. And, and then we also send out like kind of tips and, you know, our perspective, things like that. But when you opt into our site, we had created this fake character named Gary.

And he is a 65 year old man who started out as a spy, spying on our agency. And then we decided to hire him as a social media intern. He's all, it's all fake. And we found, we found the stock imagery of the stock model and he'd become our mascot anyway. So if you opt to our site, you get to be welcomed into the world of obedient through a multi multi-part email series written by Gary.

And he basically has like the humor profile of Michael Scott from the office. He's but like a little bit more dopey and he's so delightful. So. Yeah, so I would highly recommend to go to obedient agency.com and then check us out by hanging out with us in our, in our

Brian: I just, I just signed up for your mailing list on that. I'm excited for that. So,

Chris: when we say that I can bring this home for people for our audience, I think a lot of people when they [00:52:00] sit down and this is, this is like what I am taking home from this episode. And I hope that you do too. I think a lot of people when they sit down and think about a tagline and thinking about their.

That their hope is that a customer would see it and make this noise. I think what Allie is trying to teach us is that when people look at your brand, that you took enough risks, that they, they got to a hell yeah. That they leaned in and they thought it was cool at the expense of excluding people.

Absolutely. But I think when it's just, when you're going for a, with your website, that's not going to do well for your business, getting diehard. Hell yeah. These guys, these people seem awesome. I think that is so much more effective. And I think that seems to be what you do, Allie,

Allie: Yeah. I mean, that's a great way to sum it up Chris. Cause I mean, I'm sure you guys have heard this quote. If it's not a hell. Yes, it's a And it's like, I think that's the lens at which people are looking at brands and services and products and offerings. They're either going hell yes. Or they're going, eh, next, know, if they're not doing it [00:53:00] purely on a budget play, like you have to elicit something a little bit stronger in your audience.

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