the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 109: Why Research is Your Competitive Advantage with Jason Dorsey | Recap Episode

Today we present you with the highlights and key learnings from our incredible episode with leading generational researcher, author, and speaker Jason Dorsey. We open by talking about how Jason built his success on research and how the more data he collected, the more in demand he became. As Jason has differentiated his business through researching Millennials and Generation Z, host Rory emphasizes that while new generational trends emerge, that research is a timeless expertise.

A significant insight, we focus on why you need to understand the content needs of each generation to effectively sell your products before touching on how Generation Z resonates with video content. Later, Rory provides listeners with tips on adapting your content to video. We then discuss how data on its own isn’t enough to reach people — you need to translate that data into a story that people can emotionally connect with.

Near the end of the episode, we share how you can start producing research without spending any money. Tune in to hear more on Gen Z, getting into the research game, and our conversation with the brilliant Jason Dorsey.

List to the episode below

Key takeaways from this episode

  • How Jason’s company became more in-demand the more research and data they gathered.
  • Rooting your expertise in research, a skill set that’s always relevant.
  • Distinguishing yourself in a crowded market through your research.
  • The importance of understanding and adapting to different generations.
  • Why data isn’t good enough; you need to turn it into a story that can connect with your audience.
  • Connecting with Gen Z through video content, with tips on adapting written content.
  • Boosting your profile as a thought leader by using third-party research.

Tweetable Moments

“If you feel like you’re in a crowded market, research and data can give you a competitive advantage.” — @aj_vaden [0:05:20]

“Knowing who the next generation is, adapting what you do, and not being frustrated is needed to stay relevant.” — @roryvaden  [0:06:07]

“The data itself isn’t good enough. It’s how you take that data and turn it into stories that have an emotional connection. That is true thought leadership.” — @aj_vaden

About Jason Dorsey

Jason Dorsey is the most sought-after Gen Z, Millennial, and generational keynote speaker, strategic advisor, and global researcher.

Jason’s passion is solving generational challenges for leaders using his unique research discoveries. He delivers results through his acclaimed keynote presentations, strategic advisory work, and unique behavioral research. His talent is applying insights from his 65+ research studies with his frontline experience working with over 700 clients to uncover specific, new solutions that drive measurable results. He’s funny, too.

Jason has been featured on 200+ TV shows, including 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, and The Early ShowAdweek calls Jason a “research guru” and The New York Times featured him in its cover story on marketing to Millennials. Jason is known for discovering Millennials are breaking into two generations: Mega-llennials and Me-llennials. His newest book for leaders, Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business–and What To Do About It, will be released in September 2020 by HarperCollins.

Links Mentioned:

AJV: (00:06) RV: (00:07) Hey, welcome to the special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. We’re breaking down the interview with one of our best friends, Jason Dorsey about him and his wife and business partner, Denise, via dr. Denise via and their new book Z conomy about generation Z and how they’re going to affect the future of the world of business and all things, personal brands. So babe, what were some of your big takeaways from listen to our friend, Jason, in the professional setting that we do? AJV: (00:40) Now, it’s always so great to get a chance to listen to friends. Cause you forget. Wow. Really smart friend. Wow. You’re so smart. Like you have all these amazing skillsets. So I think that one for anyone who has a cause it’s so fun to get to interview people that you’re actually really close to in life, because as friends, you don’t really get to know all the intimate details of their professional lives sometimes. And this is just such a great chance to be like, wow, like I’m so honored to like get to be in your life because you’re so good at what you do. So anyways, that’s just a major kudos to Denise and Jason for just for being so smart. So cool. We love you guys. So here’s one of the things that I wrote looking at my notes here is that I thought this was so fascinating and I knew this, but it had never really clicked before. AJV: (01:35) Jason talked a lot about, he said the more research that we did over the course of time the more data we collected the more just information that we gathered, the more in demand we became. And I thought that was really fascinating. And he said that what they started to realize is that research, it was their uniqueness. It was what really differentiated them in the marketplace and really set them apart and thought leadership. It wasn’t just a motivational speaker or a funny speaker or a really great speaker. It was like, no, this is founded in data. It’s founded in research. That that means something to how you recruit and hire and lead and train. And in his case, millennials now moving on to gen Z, but that research was their uniqueness. It’s what set them apart. It’s what got them on TV and all these national media spots. It’s what helped them increase their fees is they became true thought leaders in the millennial, the generational conversation that has really been really big for the last 20 years. And now they’re changing that ever so slightly to be on gen Z, which will keep them very busy for the next 20 years. RV: (02:51) Yeah. And you mentioned research it’s, it’s interesting. I don’t think their expertise is so much on millennials. I’m just thinking, Speaker 3: (03:00) Thinking not so much on millennials, but it’s on research, which means that it makes them timeless in terms of it. And, and a Z economy of course, is the new book that is all about this next era and this wave. So that was my big takeaway too, is just the power of research. And it was, I felt a little bit of a permission to when they said that there’s, there’s different levels of research. And so you can start with something basic and then kind of like work your, your, your way up. But I loved this quote when he said success is when competitors have to cite your study because your data is, is so good. So that’s something for us to aspire, aspire to. Yeah. So that was the same takeaway for me. AJV: (03:45) Yeah. I thought it was just so good. And I just, I thought this was good to just kind of sum up that point. And he said that research is what separated them in a crowded market. Right. So for those of you who feel like you’re in a crowded market, looking at research and data as a competitive advantage, I think is is really unique. Okay. Why don’t you go ahead and do your second one? Speaker 3: (04:06) My second one was really just understanding this was more of a generational thing than it was you know, how they built their business, but related to where they were saying, well, Jason said a generation isn’t changing. They’re just bringing who they are into the marketplace. And so you need to know them and that’s that’s just a quick like pivot you need to make in your, in your brain. And as a personal brand, you gotta go, okay, who are these people? I have to know who generation Z is and I need to adapt to them. It’s not that they’re changing for me. It’s just, they grew up in a different world with a different set of belief systems and, you know, politics and technology. And so knowing really who they are and, and not being frustrated, like there’s somehow changing from you, but also realizing, gosh, in order to stay relevant in the next generation, I have to adapt some of the things that I do, some of my content, some of the ways I deliver content to reach that generation. And that was just a, AJV: (05:09) Yeah. Can you talk specifically around video? These people are so used to absorbing information through video that if you really want to reach them, it’s gotta be in video. It’s not photographs, it’s not static post it’s video. I think that was, there was a great discussion around video. So if you’re, you know, a little video shy to talk about who is your demographic and here are you reaching. And if it’s in this younger, you know, at this point, you know, gen Z is all the way up to age 24, right? So they’re in your consumer market to some degree. So yeah, I thought that was great. I’m going to read this a little bit. Cause when I listened to it, I took some really tedious notes. AJV: (05:51) So a couple of other things that I put down here if say this is, I thought this was really smart. The data isn’t quite good enough, you have to be able to translate the data into a story that connects with your audience. And I thought that was really smart. And I think so, so often you think, okay, I need data. I need research. It’s like, I need numbers and I need charts and diagrams. And that’s what you think about with data. And he’s going, no data alone is no good. Nobody just, nobody emotionally connects to numbers. And he didn’t say this, or this is what I heard, but you need an emotional story tied to the data that people can connect with, that they can relate to, that they can see themselves or their company or their audience in. And he said that, you know, just even a media, right? They don’t want you to talk about numbers. It’s what are the numbers mean? Like who are the people? What are they buying? Right? What, what, how does that change? How you do business, that those are emotional things. So the data alone isn’t good enough. It’s how do you take that data and turn it into real life stories that have an emotional connection. That is what will differentiate you. That is true thought leadership. It’s not just getting numbers on a piece of paper. It’s translating those things into real stories with real emotion. Speaker 3: (07:19) Yeah. That’s cool. Thought that data is the starting point of the story and really what people are after is the story. So my third takeaway you actually already mentioned was that gen Z specifically was their language. Their native tongue is video. And I was thinking about those of you that are writers going, okay, well, what does that mean for you? If maybe you’re, you don’t want to be on the camera, you know, or you don’t like to be kind of front and center, but it’s going okay, how can I still adapt? And this came up actually in one of our events, somebody asked this question specifically and there’s some really good collaborative discussion. And what came out of that discussion was going okay, well, if you’re a writer and you don’t like to be on video, you can write and then read your writing and overlay it on top of still images or stock Royal, you know, royalty, free footage. And if you don’t want to read it, you can get a voiceover, you know, like you can get someone to voiceover it, but you can still take the written form of content and produce it into video, which if you’re going to connect with gen Z, that’s probably something you should look at doing so that, you know, hit me. It was like, we gotta go video. Everything has got to find a way to be on video because that’s, that’s who they are. AJV: (08:38) That means more showers or having to do Speaker 3: (08:45) More hairspray. Yes. More hair. AJV: (08:49) Okay. My third one you kinda mentioned it earlier, but I’m just going to touch on a little bit more. I said, you don’t have to hire a research firm to start getting data rich, right? You don’t have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to have your own data to have data. He said, one of the first things that you can do is just start compiling all of the research studies that have already been done in your space. Third parties citing them. But then talking about that as you know, one of your core differences is like, Hey, you base it on this research, you base it on the studies, you base it on this data, you base it on this X, Y, and Z. And that you don’t have to be the one to foot the bill to do all of the research that other people are doing research. AJV: (09:34) Just so other people like you we’ll use it, we’ll cite it and we’ll give them credit for it, which is fine. I just think that was really also insightful of going, Hey, have your trying to create real thought leadership. It has to be more than just a personal story, right? It’s got to be a personal story, tied to data. That’s been connected back to a story and that’s really forwarding the message where it’s really concrete and substance, but you don’t have to pay for it. There’s plenty of research studies and data out there go and compile the most credible ones. He talks a lot about how do you know which ones are credible? It’s, it’s definitely an interview you want to listen to not just to learn about gen Z, which is fascinating. But also just like, okay, well, how do I get in this research game? And what does that mean? And what does that look like? And how can you start dipping your toes in it without spinning? RV: (10:34) Yep. So there’s at least two reasons to go buy the Zee economy. Book one is so you can learn about gen Z and know who the heck they are and how you can reach them. And two is to watch one of the best in the business in terms of Jason and dr. Denise via Jason Dorsey and dr. Denise via who’s his wife and business partner and how they make data, become a part of their brand and learn about it. So that’s what we got for you. Thanks for tuning in buys economy, and we’ll see you next time. Bye. Bye [inaudible].

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