Practical Strategies for Your Toughest Growth Challenges - Diana Fryc

growth strategies Jun 03, 2021
Mark Struczewski, Diana Fryc

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Diana Fryc is a marketing industry executive with 20 years advising brands from fortune 50 to start-ups on how to address their toughest growth challenges. As partner and CMO of creative branding firm, Retail Voodoo, uses her expertise in brand development, innovation, consumer markets, marketing, and packaging systems to help clients generate meaningful and sustainable growth.

Mark Struczewski
Dana Fryc, welcome to the show.

Diana Fryc
Welcome. Thank you. Welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Mark Struczewski
That's okay. I like to feel welcome on my own show.

Diana Fryc
Yeah. Okay. Well, yes. Welcome to your show. Thank you so much for having me.

Mark Struczewski
So we are in very interesting times here in June 2011. 2011? Look at us. This is gonna be one really classic episode in June 2011. Oh, my goodness. Okay. And so everybody seems to be online. I'll be celebrating birthday number 56 on June 21.

Diana Fryc
Congratulations.

Mark Struczewski
Thank you. I grew up in the 70s and 80s. And there was no internet unless you went to the colleges and the government agencies. Now everyone's got the internet in their pocket. And we used to think that leveling the playing field was social media. Because back in the 70s, and 80s, the people that had the most money, got the coolest ads they could afford, classifieds. I don't know how many listeners remember classifieds. But now we have social media. And people are trying to figure out the social media game. Facebook wasn't showing your posts to anybody and now they are and you have algorithms, you got the different social media platforms. And some people just want to pull their hair out. Now I shave my head every morning. So I have no hair to pull out. But how do we navigate? How do we promote our businesses and our brands? And our causes in the age of all this noise?

Diana Fryc
Hmm? Well, that's a good question. You know, there are a few things going on. There are a few things going on with social media, which is just one channel of communicating with consumers now. The brands that we've worked with, most of the products they sell on shelves are in a retail environment. But of course, we've seen such a, the pandemic itself has pushed a lot of people to move on to online direct-to-consumer and e-commerce strategies. And so we're looking at more holistic programs. Social media is a great tool for people to be able to explore brands, especially those emerging brands to be able to just kind of get some visibility and start to get some credibility with an audience in a place where they could afford typically, with media advertising, as most people would know, the consumer is now starting to struggle a little bit, even with the Facebook algorithms, those of us that are purchasing any kind of advertising, whether it be Google or LinkedIn, or Instagram, or Facebook, or, you know, name, your platform, are now being outspent by other brands as well, you know, if PepsiCo is buying billions of dollars in ads every year anyway, they're going to, they're going to flood the platforms that their audiences are going to be in front of. So the type of work that we do, we usually say, in order to make in order to kind of control your brand, or be able to drive messaging and not let the consumer totally take over your brand. Because we want that a little bit. We want consumers or our potential customers to love our brand well enough that they're going to start to evangelize on our behalf, so to speak. But we need to have enough control over it. And so that really focuses on understanding who you are as a brand. And those people who are in services that might sell insurance versus the type of clients that we have, that are more CPG (consumer packaged goods), food and beverage or retail or that type of thing. You still have control over the narrative. And we call that brand positioning where you identify who your target audience is, understand what you really stand for, and then create a language that's going to connect with an audience that's really your audience, rather than a shotgun approach. The shotgun approach is what feels like is happening on social media. But it's actually for the sophisticated marketer, you can dissect and segment your audiences as well. So I like social media quite a bit. But I think most brands, most consumers or smaller, brands that might not be as sophisticated would be surprised at really where the power is, is actually in Google. I know that sounds really, really crazy. But because there's so much noise on social media, a lot of that information gets ignored. And really what you want to be doing is making yourself more visible and from a Google search standpoint, meaning a little bit of SEO and if you're going to spend some money, a little bit of money out in the Google world, and kind of establish some presence out there, because that's where people go first when they're searching for anything new. Does that make sense?

Mark Struczewski
It does make sense. And it's one of the things my coach actually impressed upon me. Because when I would release a blog, a new podcast episode, that I would just, you know, take your bio, and I put the player there. And there you go. And she goes, no, you need to transcribe every episode. You do. Yeah. And so now I've been doing it for about a month now. So when you go to the episode, now, it doesn't happen always the same day, because depending on how long the episode is, how well the AI gets our conversation. But I do put it up there. So now you can read it, or you can listen to it. Right. And I think that's really powerful. Because Google, I don't think it's at the point now where it can listen to audio and transcribe it in real-time for SEO, but it can read really well. And that's why I think everyone should transcribe their podcasts. I was a denier on this for so long. But now I understand the power because now you're making it really easy for Google to know what that audio is all about.

Diana Fryc
Yeah, there's a double benefit with the transcription. By the way, I know a lot of people who don't live with disabilities won't know this. But there's a lot of people who have hearing disabilities that love that transcription. So not only does it work for, or even people where English as a second language, and we might be getting clients from around the world, who maybe don't, business English is the business, but podcasts are a little bit more informal, like this, what we're doing right now. And we might be using a little bit more casual language, that doesn't translate very well. And it gives an opportunity for those people who have hearing disabilities or they don't read, or they don't understand the English language very well, to be able to read and get the content as well. So you've got your Google search, but then you've got your accessibility component as well. So I'm a big fan of the transcription component.

Mark Struczewski
That's, that's a really good point. Because if you like what I'm doing, and you speak French, or Portuguese, or Spanish, you can just translate that transcription into your language. Yeah. So you're, you're having the ability to read more. And I can tell you this much, AI has come a long way. Now I don't use rev.com. I use otter.ai. I get about 95-93% accurate; you just have to go through and put the paragraph breaks in there. But I did it mainly for SEO. But now you really made me understand, wow, people who have issues listening or another language is going to benefit them. So it's a multiple-win scenario. Absolutely. Yeah. Wow. So that's one thing I'm doing. I'm also writing long-form blog posts because I think people who rely on social media scare me. Now I am on Facebook, I am on LinkedIn. We don't own those platforms. People don't understand that. When I see people go, Oh, I got a URL and it goes to my Facebook page. I'm like, oh, my goodness, why did you do that? Don't have your website address, go to Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter, you need to have your own sandbox on the internet. Do you agree with that?

Diana Fryc
Absolutely. Because you control the narrative. And also, you know, it depends on what's happening from a digital standpoint, sorry, I've got like three thoughts coming through my head at the same time here. From a digital standpoint, in the digital universe, you know, SEO and organic search. For those people that don't know what that is, is like whatever the content is that you put on your website, the web crawlers are looking for information. So when you go and do a search, it's looking for those words is looking for those phrases, and to help drive traffic to your site. Those are becoming a little less powerful, and right now the trend is moving towards digital advertising, social advertising a little bit, but it's not quite as valuable as traditional digital advertising. So when you're thinking of social media as a solution for promoting your product, visibility, promotions, that type of thing, you really need to look at that as one part of your strategy. And the content on your website is also probably more powerful because it will give people the opportunity to learn about you in a far more in-depth way than social media will let your social media is really more designed for quick bites of thought leadership, you're not getting people who are going to want to invest minutes and minutes and minutes of time, you know, three to five minutes max, but when they're searching for you on whether it's Bing or Google or you know, go you know, whatever your platform is that you search those people when they are coming to your site are going to invest far more time reading your content. So that's really where you should be going and then repurposing that content out. So don't have people going to Facebook, have Facebook, definitely driving people to your website, have digital driving to your website, that's where you have the most power to engage with a consumer and get them to decide whether they're a good fit for you or bad fit. Just this powerful to have somebody say, not my people, right? You don't want to spend days and weeks marketing to somebody who's not a good fit either. To be clear, be tight.

Mark Struczewski
And, of course, your own website, you have the most control. I mean, there are no algorithms on my website. I mean, you go there, you can look at it, right, you want to look at, I think, you know, like, I'm known as Mr. productivity. And so you go look up Mr. Productivity on Facebook, there's a page and there's a group, I just, I've been off Facebook for three years, I just got back into it, because my coach finally convinced me that your prospects are on Facebook, you know, 2 billion people on there. But I like to get people on to my website because there, there are no baby pictures or vacation pictures. It's all my stuff. And like you said, controlling the narrative is so important. Because if you send someone to your Facebook page, yeah, they go to their face pay Facebook page, they may follow up like it whatever engaging in like, now they're gonna go check out their friends' pages, they're gonna check out their timeline. Yeah. And they're never gonna go back to your website.

Diana Fryc
Yeah, yeah, you really want to get them to your website. And not that you, the one thing that is good about Facebook is you can, you can keep Top of Mind as long as you're consistent with putting content out there. And I'm not talking about flooding it you don't need 500 posts a week. But for those people, especially if, especially if you know, people aren't going to go back to your website over and over and over again, unless they have a need for the content that's there. So they'll come and visit you they'll do their investigation, they might come back a couple of times. This is where Facebook kind of brings you back top of mind, oh, there's a new piece of article they see you and oh, this is a topic that I'm interested or this is a podcast, I'm interested, oh, they're having a sale, or those are those bite-size moments that drive people back to your website. And that's really the tool. That's what advertising's tool is. And you know, Facebook is part advertising, part PR, but at the end of the day, we want people to convert, we want them to click on the link and go back to your website, the more times they come back to your website, the more probable you're going to get business from them. And because people are on Facebook every day, you have the opportunity to be in front of them on a more regular basis than relying on them coming back to your website every single time. Does that make sense?

Mark Struczewski
It does make sense. And one of the things I do because I have a page and I have the group is you can schedule posts. So I went out I scheduled posts on my page all the way to the end of June now that I didn't just like put crap on there. I mean, I literally thought about every piece of content. Of course, every day, I have a new podcast, Episode Two that goes on there, my group, I did the same thing. But here's the thing. I do not duplicate the content from the group and the page. So I will go live on my page. And I will go live on my group, not replays, I want it to be unique. And I see a lot of people that post something on their profile or their page in the group, the same thing. And I'm like, why should that be a member of your group and your page if you're going to post the same content on both. So I encourage people to think that through because you can schedule. So what I do is I carve out four hours, you know, once every couple to three weeks, and I sit there, and I'll go and create a whole bunch of quote cards or posts in Canva, whatever. And I'll just schedule them. And so if I get really busy, I know that content is going to keep on posting the link to Facebook. Right. I think that's one of the problems with LinkedIn, LinkedIn, you have to use a third-party app. Facebook has that down. The publishing tools on Facebook are bar none. They're number one out there.

Diana Fryc
Yeah, LinkedIn is a little bit of a different type of tool. I think they're trying to do a good job of keeping that platform to be business-related. And if we can schedule too far out in advance, I think then it becomes a little bit more like Facebook and you have redundancy of platforms. So I think while it's while it's challenging, I think that they've done a good job managing that I myself would like to be able to schedule out in advance but I do use that third-party plugin for my scheduling and that helps quite a bit. There are some things you can't do even through that third party. But there are some strategies, Mark, where they talk about some there are some social strategies, were publishing the same information in different groups, different Facebook channels, etc. is not necessarily a bad idea kind of advertising one on one is you need to see a message X number of times before it becomes sticky. So depending on what it is that you're doing, if it's purely content, maybe you don't want to duplicate, unless you're having to be like, Oh, it's a down week, and I'm not going to publish anything new this week, you might then just plug your feed with some best ABS or what have you some promotions that week, and you can duplicate amongst the groups, you also will know that some people will maybe only join one of your Facebook pages are one of your groups, they might not be on all three. So for them, it's not redundant. And then for those that are on all three, well, then they get to see that message three or four times, maybe not a bad thing, I don't know. Um, I think it just depends on which camp that you're in. I've seen it done both ways. And successful both ways.

Mark Struczewski
What I do is sometimes just change the graphic, even if I change the color or the font size, so it looks a little bit different. But one thing I want to say I love LinkedIn, I love what they're doing. But the biggest problem I see with LinkedIn is the ability to go live. Now, this is June 2021. And I can go live on Facebook on my iPhone, I don't have Instagram or Twitter, I have to use a third-party app on LinkedIn. And I think LinkedIn made a huge mistake here. I've talked to a lot of LinkedIn experts. And they're like, so if you go to a conference, and you meet someone famous, you can't pull out your iPhone and go live on LinkedIn. And I think this is a big problem. I don't know why they chose to make it go third-party and desktop-only in a world of mobile. I never got an answer for that from support. And a lot of the experts on LinkedIn I follow, they're like, it makes no sense to us whatsoever. I think if they would do that, and hopefully, it's coming. I did the poll about three months ago, and I said you think LinkedIn is working on a built-in live app? And nobody said yes, of course, nobody knows. I mean, they did introduce stories, the last platform to do it. So do you think in your own opinion, as we sit here in June of 2021, do you think that LinkedIn is working on the ability to go live on the app?

Diana Fryc
I don't, I don't know. Uh, you know, they generate I'm looking at what their revenue looks like, right? Now, I always want to step back and go, what's in it for them? Like what's in it for the live feed, if they can make, if they can generate more revenue from the live feed, then yes, it might be kind of a pay-to-play type of plugin. Or as part of, a premium subscription, you can have that type of thing. I don't know, I'm gonna say I don't know, that's probably above my paygrade too, for to kind of forecast that type of thing. I'm not sure.

Mark Struczewski
That's a very good point, what's in it for them. And you know, and then you said the P word, premium. Because Facebook, when they went live, they pushed out to 2 billion users. LinkedIn has like 800 million. And it's like, I had asked for LinkedIn live about seven times before I was blessed with it. And it's like, it's been two years, two and a half years. It's like everyone should have access to live on the platform now. And that's one thing in front of me that frustrates me, I love LinkedIn, but they move at a glacial speed, or LinkedIn or Facebook's like, oh, how much is done? 20%? Push it out. And we'll fix it as it goes along the way. LinkedIn is like, let's, let's allow one person to get it, fix it. Two people, fix it. And I'm like, you know, that's why I think LinkedIn could crush Facebook. But they're not aggressive. In my opinion. They're not as aggressive as Facebook and of course. I don't know what happens behind the scenes. I have no inside information. But from the surface, it looks like Facebook, they're putting Clubhouse out of business. Because Facebook goes, Oh, you want to do audio only? We'll copy that and Twitter copied that. Yeah, it just I think the people who are aggressive are gonna win long runs, and people are sitting back.

Diana Fryc
Yeah, good points. You know, I think definitely LinkedIn could probably add some of those features in there. There's a lot of other things that you can and can't do. It's very funny how you just said that. Like, when I look at LinkedIn, they want to make sure that it's right before it goes live, versus the Facebook approach, which is a little bit more like how Microsoft does it. It's like 80, for the 20. So to speak, you know, we're going to get this out there. And we'll let the consumers test and help us figure out where all the bugs are, and then we'll fix it from there. I don't know that the LinkedIn audience is going to be as patient with being a test audience so I think you have a different audience, have different needs data on LinkedIn. And it might be like, I know, for me using LinkedIn, if I'm trying a new service or new feature and it's buggy, I'll be upset because it's my business tool versus Facebook, which I just kind of go yeah, well, it's Facebook, you know what I mean? Like, there's a little bit of that expectation setting. So granted, now you can get bogged down in, in that, like you can be over-prepared too. And so I think you got to be comfortable taking some risks. And I think LinkedIn, there'll be less to the market, but I suspect that when they do it, it's going to be legit,

Mark Struczewski
Yeah, I wish I could control my feed a little bit more in LinkedIn because there was a trend 10 days ago, where someone did a poll like how did you find this post? And all of a sudden, everyone's copying? I'm like, Oh, my gosh, please, really? Do we have to copy everyone? Because you scroll through and all you see is the same poll over and over again. So I just started reporting it and said, Look, I've seen too much of this now all of a sudden, LinkedIn, apparently their algorithm is pretty good. Because it stopped showing to me, I don't want to see all that. Okay, I get it. The first person to do it, Rockstar, but then 700 people, other people do it. Are you connected to it gets kind of annoying? Yep. So my audience is mainly, not all, mainly entrepreneurs. So why don't you give us one of your two, one or two, or your biggest tips that we can really build our business, you know, whether it's a solo entrepreneur, you know, operation if we got two or three people something really simple because I'm the kind of guy I want people to take action. I don't want yes, it was a great conversation with Diana, I want to get them to take action. So what are a couple of really simple things that people can do today?

Diana Fryc
Yeah, so I'm gonna, you know, I'm assuming that you have got some, your audience is pretty pro like these, these aren't people that woke up this morning and decided to open up a bakery or something, you probably have people that are pros here. So some of this, that I a couple of the things that I like to say I feel like are kind of at the basics. And so maybe it's nice to hear it again. But one of the biggest thing that I find with entrepreneurs, when I'm having a conversation with, whether brand new brands or brands that have been around 10 years, and we're really having a hard time lifting off and talking with these folks, I really want to say be careful of the feedback. Be careful with the feedback that you get about when you're going out and soliciting advice. The biggest thing is you want everybody's advice. But you also want to use your gut as a filter and kind of go, that's a BS fit. That's not gonna work for me and be really clear on it. And it's okay to get feedback from somebody that you really admire and trust and decide that it's not the right fit for you. So I think trusting your gut is something that the best entrepreneurs how to do and I myself struggle with that too. Because of it. Oh, you know, so and so said this, so I need to do it. And at the end of the day, it's not a good fit.

Mark Struczewski
I want to interject here real quickly that the NFL players, NBA players NHL players when they go back to camp, they go back to basics. So Tom Brady knows football, when he goes back to training camp, he just throws the football. So I think it's people who don't stop and think about the power of going back to basics. Everybody wants advanced tips. But are you doing the basic tips? Yeah, the basic strategies. And that's exactly what you just talked about. So I applaud you for bringing it up. Yeah.

Diana Fryc
The other thing that I like to do is remind people, remind people that they're not trying to sell their product to everybody. And even though they'll say, okay, this is my target audience, or this is who my ideal consumer is, they'll put all of that down on paper, and then they'll go to market and it's almost like they ignore it. It's almost you got to have your playbook almost review it at least once a week. Am I talking to that audience and be okay with shifting who that audience is, but also, it's totally okay to, I like to use the word alienate people who aren't a good fit, and I mean, I'm not talking about being offensive. I'm just saying, if somebody doesn't need your product, you don't like let's not beg them for their business as you know. So I think that is knowing who your customer is or who your client is. And really sticking to the core of who that person is and not focusing on everybody else, I think is good. It's also really great for marketing and media. I mean, just makes it so much easier. And then I think the last thing that I would like to say is the, in our world we use this positioning is, know who you are, and only communicate who you are and what your exact services are clearly, to that kind of customer, once we start getting tricky. And because it's cool, or you see yourself or your identity as a creative person, and so you want something to get really elaborate. If the end person if you hand it to somebody, and they don't know what it means, and it's really creative, you've lost that prospective client or customer. So be really clear about who you are, and communicate it very clearly. And what I mean by who you are, is, you don't sell a widget. Like when we're talking about, Mark, you just said you want people to walk away with something actionable, your target audience is entrepreneurs. That's very, very clear. You want your guests to be able to provide some feedback for entrepreneurs  to move forward, period, end of the day, people who are outside the entrepreneurial hemisphere are probably not going to be interested in these basic one-on-ones. And that's okay. That's not who you're talking to anyway. But that clarity. And the clarity of positioning is really the most powerful thing that businesses can do. And we have businesses of all sizes, and I'm even talking about the multinational brands that sometimes forget what that about that positioning things, and they just need to be reminded because you get excited about the creative that everybody does. Everybody gets excited about the creative. And if you're not talking to the right audience, and you're not saying exactly who you are and what you do, you're a champion of entrepreneurs, you are not just somebody who's doing a podcast, like that's who you are, and a story and know that and communicate it frequently.

Mark Struczewski
Wow. powerful, powerful insights, I will just add this little tidbit I heard from Marie Forleo, that you should name your ICA. So when you sit down to create something, let's say your ICA's name is Sally. Okay, hmm. Well, this, is this something Sally needs? Is this something Sally is interested in, because then you make it real. It's not just like my avatar, my ideal client, it's Sally. And I know that I've dropped the ball on that. But that's a really powerful suggestion to the people listening, just name your ideal client. And then when you do something with Bob, or Sally or whoever, will they like it? So thank you so much for sharing your insights, where can we go to find out more about you and what you're doing in the world?

Diana Fryc
Sure. So I work for a brand development firm called retail VUDU. And we specialize in food and beverage and wellness brands, and mostly in the naturals category, but really, on the conventional side as well. And you can learn more about our business and the insights that we provide at retail-vudu.com. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm a very avid LinkedIn user, and other social media platforms and I have my own podcast where I interview women in our industry and if you like the learning kind of Genesis stories or industry insights in that space, you can find it at Gooder on pretty much every podcast platform. Gooder.

Mark Struczewski
Gooder; now your English teacher will not be happy.

Diana Fryc
I know. Sticky. It's sticky.

Mark Struczewski
Definitely that. Diana, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Diana Fryc
Oh, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

 

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