RV:00:00 Hey brand builder. Welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. I’m joined here by my wife and business partner and CEO, AJ Vaden of brand builders group. And we’re just breaking and breaking down for you are our three and three today of Brett Kissel, which I love because Brett introduced us into the music space and was really our first client, like well known client in the music space. And so this was a super, super interesting interview. Really great to see how these strategies and techniques and things apply over in the music business. So this is our top three and three. So AJ, why don’t you kick us off?
AJV:00:45Yeah, so my first one I think applies to all of the creatives out there and I loved his entire interview. And if you are in any sort of naturally deemed creative space, so anything in the artistry world, you should really be really listened to this cause. I think one of the high highlights or insights for me that I gathered from this is he talks about how so many people who are creatives ignore the business side of what they do. And he said, that’s just a really big mistake because you’re, you’re depending on somebody else to build, run and grow your business. And that’s a problem. Right? And at the same time, if you had to pick what’s more important, the creative side or the business side, he says, well, you know what comes first, the chicken or the egg? He said, well, in this case it’s probably the creative side because the business doesn’t really work if you’re not any good.
AJV:01:32So you have to be really good. You’ve got to be rather, it’s a great musician or writer or whatever. Your creative space is a screenplay writer, any of the things. But I think it was really interesting. He said, once you’ve got the creative side them though you have to have business acumen, you have to know how to grow a following, build a following, how to handle your finances, how to get brand deals, how to find the right management team, the right agent, how to get yourself booked. I E be a sales person. He said at the end of the day, so much of what I do is basic salesmanship. He goes, I was in sales, but not technically right, but considering himself as an artist, I have a guide to sell myself and my work to the small deals to the big deals that he’s gotten. I loved his story that he shares about when he was 16, he went down to the car dealership and negotiated himself a free truck and he was willing to do for that free truck. That was his first brand deal and he was 16. And just getting started and, but he knew how to negotiate and how to craft himself, how to craft himself as a barter asset in terms of getting other people to do things or expose your product or services to things. And I think this all comes around this whole idea of like your brand is a business. It’s a business. It’s not just about beautiful messages and pretty pictures and that, well it is, but so much more. It’s so much more.
RV:03:00Yeah. I mean, any, any company, any business has a product, right? And like the product is super important. You got to have a, a beautiful whatever, a a very well functioning whatever. And it’s very important. But there’s all these other components. There’s marketing the thing, they’re selling the thing, there’s accounting, there’s HR. This makes me think of eight figure entrepreneurs. So if our phase four of that brand builders group, we divide things into phases and phase four is called eight figure entrepreneur. It’s all of the non artistry parts of the business. It’s basically, you know, teaching how to run a business entrepreneurship. Yeah. And that’s, that’s really, really important. And I think I also picked up on the brand deal thing and him starting really young. That was one of my highlights. There’s another interview that will be coming out with Julie Solomon.
RV:03:48She talks specifically about how to get brand deals and the details you’re gonna want to listen to that as well. But the thing that Brett said that was, was really powerful and I think is important is he said your brand deals are going to win if you can talk about products that, that, that you authentically and genuinely are excited about. So. Right. So he went and got like this truck which, you know, I wouldn’t want a brand deal for truck. I would want some other type of car or getting a truck all the time. Well, I would like very off brand, but I know, but I would like to have an F-150 so you know, if anyone’s out there or you know, any company you want to do a brand deal with me for a truck.
RV:04:32No, there’s a whole market for this because it could be the truck for the non manly man.
RV:04:37Nobody said anything about not being manly. I don’t, that was another level there. Babe Anyways. Anyways, let’s carry on here. Not the non manly. I mean it is true. I probably, I’m probably more of like an Escalade truck or something with massaging seats. Anyways, let’s carry on. The people are interested in our, in our issues. So but, but, but what could you be excited about, right? Like what are the things, what are the products you actually use and just approach those people and say, Hey, you know, I’ve got a platform. And, and I this, you know, Julie talks more about this too, but, and also when Brett was really young, it’s, you don’t have to have millions of followers. Like micro influencers are a big part of the day. It’s like if you’re reaching a dedicated audience and you’re truly passionate about the product and you use it, you can help that brand when you can make some money from them and you can introduce products to your customers that you really believe in. Yeah.
AJV:05:32Kind of enough set on the brand deals part, but I wasn’t really just,
RV:05:35I can’t focus, I’m still thinking about the non manly man comment from my wife. It’s okay. I’m still married. Yes, that’s true. Okay. Well that’s I think a big part of
AJV:05:45This interview is also around talks a lot about online engagement and the social media component of as an artist or as anyone. Like how do you really do that? And he said, I thought this was really interesting, that record label at the time gave him a strategy that he was going to follow. And I said, Hey, listen, you’re young, you’re in your 20s. You don’t wear a wedding ring. So I’m, let’s really position you as available and single and really trying to help people in their twenties, figure out who they are and where they’re going. And the problem was
AJV:06:15He was married.
AJV:06:18And very proudly married and happily married and knew where he was going. And you know, he’s married and has got kids and he was like, yeah, no,
RV:06:28He’s the coolest family guy too. That’s just Brett.
AJV:06:31It’s not who I am. I’m going to be me online. And that includes my awesome wife who’s also an influencer in her own right. And it’s gonna include my awesome kids. And if that doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work. And he said, here’s what I have found out is that because I am my authentic self, which means covered in cookie dough batter or pancake batter, he said, I will get two to three times more likes on being my normal dad husband self than I will on F on a stage with Garth Brooks, 30,000 fans. It’s incredible. The engagement and the authenticity and the realness of me just being me is three times more popular than the, Hey, let me position myself as this single available guy traveling the world, playing on stages. I said three times more just being me.
RV:07:25I love that.
New Speaker:07:25Yeah, I love that. I dunno if I would get more likes if I didn’t wear a wedding ring. I’m not going to find that though. Boy, you’re not to know. I would never do it. I would never do it. And that’s kind of disheartening, you know, some of that, some of that stuff exists, but just, you know, being, being yourself is super, super powerful. I, you know, I, I noted the exact same thing. So that was one of my big takeaways is just real life social media posts. And it’s the same way. Like when Jasper, I mean fortunately like our kids are so entertaining, Jasper and Liam and we get the same thing, like lots of posts, engagement. It’s that real, that realness, that everyday life I think that people can relate to. So just do that. And you know, that’s a, Sam, not sorry to be referencing these other interviews, but we have these other podcasts interviews.
RV:08:13He dives in deep, deep, deep, deep on technically like where to post your real personal stuff and then where to post your motor businessy stuff. And he’s got a really good strategy. So stay tuned for that interview as well. The last one for me, my third takeaway, which was just really huge and inspiring, and I didn’t say this earlier, but I, I love Brett. Like he is a guy that is just nice and everything about his brand to me represents like genuine and authentic and sort of like, you know, almost like the little engine that could story of he’s the true authentic musician. Yeah. That’s country people are just good people. Well, and here’s the word and you know, he is a client, so we’ve actually worked, worked with him and his manager jam, they came over and we worked with them. But this idea of the long shot is, is everything is like he was just a normal kid from like a small town.
RV:09:07Right. That wouldn’t, you know, wouldn’t make it as a country star. And you know, people see him, he literally, if you didn’t listen to the interview, I mean, he literally opens for Garth Brooks. So he’s a huge, like one of the huge Canadian act Canadian country music, male vocalist of the year on and on and on in Canada and, and he’s really just getting known in, in the U S but he’s touring with Garth Brooks. And what he talks about is he remembers when he first started, he was doing small customer appreciation events. He was doing rodeos like when nobody was paying attention to car dealerships, like these tiny, tiny events. And I, when he said that, I’m like, man, I used to speak at a Perkins restaurant for Toastmaster groups for like three people on a Friday night in a Perkins restaurant. I still remember what that feels like.
RV:09:57And, and you just don’t, you can never hear that story enough because you see the glamour and the glitz and you think, Oh my gosh, it’s so far away. I can never be that. And yet when you meet these people and you hear their stories, it’s the same freaking story every time. It was the person that was willing to play the rodeo, play the Perkins, like do the small gig and do it over and over and over. It’s, it wasn’t a big break or some, some lucky find. It was that discipline regimented. Like this is my dream and I’m going after it and I will start so small and I’ll get better and better and better. And now just like, I mean we, we went and we went with Brett to, to with his team to see Michael bublé. Like he, he gave us tickets. It is like, yeah, I know Michael bublé and Garth Brooks and it’s like, what? Like, who are you? You’re like a real life celebrity. And yet he’s this, this country boy married man, dad, just like living on a prayer. Ah, I just, I love that his story, we can tell it makes me cry.
AJV:11:02So my last point would be similar to that, but in a different respect of if, when you listen to this interview, he started when he was ven yyears old and someone in his family, I think he said it was his grandmother said, I just, I see music in you. And I think for so many of us we won’t be where we want to be without a support system. So maybe it’s your family, maybe it’s friends, maybe it’s mentors, whatever. But having a support group of literally a group of people who are supporting what you do, advocating for what you do, believing in you is vital to any success. Imagine if no e iin his family would have said, I see something in you. So we’re going to foster it. We’re going to buy you the, and we’re going to buy you the instruments. We’re going to get you the lessons. We’re going to take you to all these road shows and rodeos and, and country fairs. And
RV:11:53Now they’re driving and someone’s driving you.
AJV:11:55Oh, the things right. We’re going to dedicate time and give you our basement or garage to practice in. We’re going to allow you to start this band. And more than that, we’re going to take you down to those car dealerships and help negotiate and barter deals for you because that’s what we want to do for you. And I think as a parent even though my, my babies are really little, they’re o aand a half and set and ven mmonths now, it’s like this concept of like e oof my jobs as a parent, I E supporter and advocate for my kids as well as people around me that I love and believe in. It’s, it’s to let them know that they can do it. And then not just to say, you can do it, go do it. It’s to actually help advocate and support the process.
AJV:12:36And if you don’t have, and you don’t have people like that, you need to find them. And is that they don’t have to be paid. People, friends, family, mentors, church, maybe they’re paid coaches are paid consultants, whatever. I feel like that’s what we are for a lot of our clients is we are this community. We are this network, the support system, because we truly do believe in sharing good. And the more that we can share, good, the better that the good guys win. But at the same time, there are people that are in your life that you need to share what you want to do so they can actually help support you along the way. And for him, it happened really, really young and it was fostered and it was really pushed. And that we need that too. Does it matter if we were ven oor venteen oor irty seven? It’s like we still need that push.
RV:13:22We need someone to say, no, it’s worth it. Go for it. Yeah, it’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be the most amazing ride of your life. Yeah. Maybe it’s not the road more traveled. But it’s gonna be the road that’s yours. And so I think all of that is to say is like you’ve got to have community behind you to make sure that you don’t give up or get frustrated or think that, wow, this is just as pipe dream. I, I’m from this small town and I don’t have these resources. I don’t have these connections. Who cares what I have to say because they do. And you’ve got to have people that are willing to say it matters. You matter, your message matters. So don’t give up. And I just think that was just a really good moment. As, and as a reminder, as a parent of like, that’s my job as a parent is to not just say I believe in you, but to help foster the development of their passions.
RV:14:14Love it. All this just wonderful, wonderful guy. So check out the interview with Brett Kissel, Canadian country, male vocalist of the year, a whole host of other awards, great music. By the way, my favorite Brett Kissel song is called ree to oe tree, o, e. I’m counting down the hours. Anyways, Rory doesn’t sing as you can tell. But check, check out some of his music, listen to the interview, and just stay tuned. We’re so grateful that you’re here and we want to want you to know that we believe in you and you can do it. So stay the course and we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.