Shama Hyder:

It’s not a nice to have, right? It’s not an additional, it’s like, well, it’s this or bust. So you can’t… If your trade shows are canceled and you can’t do what you’re traditionally doing, you have to embrace the digital, you have to look at how do we grow. And the power also of, I think, people realizing how important earned media is. So a lot of times when their budgets are getting shifted and they’re having to be more careful and think about, “Hey, where do we focus?” Realizing that when someone else says something about you, it’s 10 times more powerful than what you say about yourself.

David:

And there she is.

Shama Hyder:

Hey.

David:

How are you?

Shama Hyder:

How are you?

David:

I am terrific. Thanks for joining me.

Shama Hyder:

Oh my goodness, this is fun.

David:

I love that flower, how did you do that?

Shama Hyder:

I’m in Miami, so I thought that was pretty Miami appropriate, no?

David:

And it matches you too. That’s amazing.

Shama Hyder:

Good morning.

David:

Good morning. Well we were talking about Martins and millionaires and mindset, and I think that’s right up your alley and understanding to have the right perspective and empowering others to be happy. So tell me a little bit about what you have going on right now.

Shama Hyder:

Oh my goodness. Well, like so many people I’ve been home bound. So usually I’m in the air and I’m traveling. And so this is different. It’s good though, I’ve been running Zen media for 12 years. So this is the first time where I’ve been home bound for so long, and it really helps you take a good look and use this time to say, “Where the business headed? How are we doing? How can we better serve our clients?” And given everything that’s going on right now, we’ve seen such an increase, an influx of people who are embracing digital, right?

David:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

So I don’t know if you see like that meme, David, that’s been going around. It’s like, “What caused digital transformation? Was it your CMO, CEO, or COVID?”

David:

Yeah. I vote for COVID.

Shama Hyder:

COVID, yeah, that’s what causes that.

David:

And I think beyond just digital transformation, what it’s done is allowed us to utilize what assets we have. So it’s not only the digital assets, you know? And I’ll give you an example, for me even for years, I had a friend trying to push me to use zoom and he would send me, “Let’s do a zoom call.” And I’d roll my eyes going, “I don’t want to do a zoom call. I want to do a phone call so I can do my emails and not look at you, right? So I can multitask-

Shama Hyder:

Sure.

David:

… put you on speaker phone. I don’t want to do a zoom call. But that technology has existed and because of COVID now, people were more open because they were forced into using it. And they actually got to see the value and it accelerated the learning curve of that digital technology. But I think that most people don’t realize the other side of the learning curve that COVID has forced us to look at, which is our personal values. I see a lot of people looking at their health. I can’t say how many people have lost the quarantine 15, not gained the quarantine 15.

Shama Hyder:

Right, right.

David:

And I think family-wise, even me, I fly 200 days a year around the world, thinking that I have my life in balance, a weighted balance as I teach. And you know, all this empowering talk about having a great marriage, and four kids, and people admiring how well you balance all of that. And meanwhile, COVID had shown me that as much as that may have been true in my perception, it was more hypocrisy that I could have done a lot better job. And I tell people all the time, “You can invite me right now to go to the super bowl next year. But if all four kids and my wife are available for dinner I’m not going, because I value those dinners way more than I did. And I see a different value, the same way I value zoom much more than I did before COVID. What are some of the things that you value more? Because you’re someone like me your butt is in the air more than it’s on the ground.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. But you know, it’s funny because I think as time changes your life is in different phases, your priorities change. Right? And I became a mom last year, so I have a one-year-old and thank you. And so to me that all of a sudden raised my bar considerably in terms of I don’t want to travel as much. I mean that was… Because like you I’m away from my family, right? And when you’re in your twenties and single there’s less trade off and it’s good because you’re traveling, and you’re meeting people, and it’s fun. And those are good life experiences to have. At this point in my life where I can get more done when I’m in one place working on my next book, right? Or working with a client from here.

Shama Hyder:

And that’s the funny thing I do think is that I’ve been offering remote keynotes for 10 years, as long as I’ve been doing keynotes there was always an option to have remote. Well, no one’s ever taken it… Like very rarely, webinars here and there. But now I’m like, “I really like this.”

David:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

I miss the stage. I’ll do it, but I’m just going to be a lot more picky because every day that I’m away, I’m away from my son, I’m away from my husband. And my family is super supportive of my career, and that’s nice, but still it’s a trade-off. Right? And you’ve got to think about those trade-offs. And I think with everything happening people are thinking about it. The contrast is stronger, right? Where you’re really able to be like, wow, forced to kind of find that stillness and say, “What’s different? Do I like this?”

Shama Hyder:

The other thing, we’ve been a work from home company for 12 years, we’ve never had an office. And now we’ve seen more resumes than ever before, because people have tried the work from home thing and they’re like, “I like this. I want to stay with a company that’s not going to go back.” Because this is how we’ve always been. So I think that’s been interesting too, for a lot of my… Just to see the rise in resumes and so forth. The folks saying, “I tried this and my company is going to go back, or try to go partially back, and I don’t want to. I really like… And I want to move to Texas, or I want to move to Georgia. I want to be closer to family.” So you’re right, this has been, for a lot of people highlighted the importance of family and the importance of who’s in your circle, who’s in your COVID circle, your quarantine circle. Right?

David:

Yeah, it’s so smart.

Shama Hyder:

I mean, think about it, so it’s not these people that are way out there, but who’s in your closest circle.

David:

And it’s so interesting because, like we said, a lot of those things that you have offered for years now have really come full circle, that learning curve. And for me too, I had one day New Zealand, Hong Kong, UK, New York four speeches. Four keynotes in one day-

Shama Hyder:

Wow.

David:

… and I was thinking to myself, albeit they’re not paying what they paid to have me fly there, house me at a resort, spend a weekend and all of that. But on the other side I didn’t have to do any of that either. Right? I mean, there’s no human way that I could do that in one week, let alone one day. And it was so easy because in between all those great speeches, besides changing my shirt so all the videos didn’t look the same. You know, it was 30 to 45 minutes for each of them and I still had time for a whole bunch of other things.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah.

David:

And in pretty much the amount of it time would take me to drive to lax to fly, just the drive to the airport, not counting security and waiting at the gate I had four speeches done.

Shama Hyder:

Yes, that’s amazing.

David:

And they had the content afterwards immediately. Right?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah.

David:

It’s so amazing. And now I’m-

Shama Hyder:

And more people probably tuned in, right? More people probably were able to catch it who wouldn’t have been able to, you know, if someone missed it. And like now, I mean, I don’t know if you’re seeing this David, but we’re seeing a huge spike, even with clients with their sales pipeline and lead gen.

David:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

Clients who were really worried like, “Oh, our trade shows are canceled.” And then when you look into it and you’re like, “Oh, okay. So why were you going to the trade show in the first place? What was the goal?” And it’s like, “I don’t know, it’s what we’ve done for 20 something years.” Right? And it’s like, “Can you do that maybe without the trade show?”

David:

Yeah. Without all the expense, right, and time. So it is amazing. I think one of the other areas that’s more interesting as well is I’m working with this company Clarity Experiences because I do TV shows and the… And these big productions, right, that you do, it’s the same kind of waste. So many people, so many cameras, so many unions, right? I mean, the unions must be bummed because they have no control, there’s no safety issues, there’s nothing to pick on. You know what I mean? So like, I have a virtual set for my new TV show that’s so incredible.

Shama Hyder:

Amazing.

David:

And it’s literally… I’ve been using it even on my stream yard and people are like, “Where are you right now?” Because it’s a stage and they can change all the assets, and inventory, and real estate moves. So much more flexible. Especially, you and I both know, when you’re stepping on a stage live there’s always like, “Do you have my right slide?” or the person… Right?

Shama Hyder:

Right.

David:

It’s so much easier to maneuver, and change, and fix, and rehearse. Right? What about the expense of rehearsing? So just an extraordinary thing. Now, what have been the great values now that you can provide to your clients as well? Because you’ve been in business for 12 years, even though you don’t look like you could be in business for 12 years, or even a mom.

Shama Hyder:

Oh, thank you.

David:

To me you look so young.

Shama Hyder:

I appreciate it, thank you.

David:

But what are some of the greater capabilities and values that you’re providing to your clients now?

Shama Hyder:

Now a lot more companies are taking us up on that because you said, it’s not a nice to have, right? It’s not an additional, it’s like, well, it’s this or bust. So you can’t… If your trade shows are canceled and you can do what you’re traditionally doing, you have to embrace the digital. You have to look at how do we grow and the power also of I think people realizing how important earned media is. So a lot of times when their budgets are getting shifted and they’re having to be more careful and think about, “Hey, where do we focus?” Realizing that when someone else says something about you, it’s 10 times more powerful than what you say about yourself, right?

Shama Hyder:

So an article in Forbes or Inc is way more powerful than you taking out an ad or whatever it may be. And so I think these kind of… I’ve seen this happen at a micro level over the years, but now you see that big jump and it’s like, “Okay, we’re in, we’re ready to embrace it.” And in ways that you wouldn’t even think about, and it’s been fascinating.

Shama Hyder:

So to give you an example, one of our clients is a medical surgeon who also has an aesthetics training center. And so he used to do live trainings to show and train medical assistants on how to do Botox for example. And that’s a very physical thing. If you think about actually having students showing them how to hold the needle, right? All these things, we were able to take all of that and move it completely digital and ship mannequins to student’s houses and sealing injections. And you know what? It was amazing. And now it’s opened up this entire international audience that can now participate and get the certification. And it’s very much like this, right? So I’d have a mannequin here. And let’s say that you were the doctor and you were giving feedback and you can watch the technique and the entire…. All the other students can also participate and have that interaction.

Shama Hyder:

So it’s really kind of neat to be able to take things that people thought were very physical and transform them and find that the results are very similar, if not better. I mean, now you open it up to an international market, a lot of folks in the Middle East who wanted to take his classes and they don’t have to come to the West coast for four days, they don’t become the LA to do this. They can do it online. So things like that I think have been really cool to see. And how quickly, right? So not a conversation that takes months or something you’re thinking about. It’s like, “Oh, we need to do this yesterday.”

David:

That’s so cool. Your ideal client… Last question, your ideal client, who is your ideal client today and has it changed since the beginning of COVID?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, so the clients that we do a lot of work with are tech forward companies who are looking to get more visibility, to get awareness. What’s changed, I think, is now the bar for people who… And I’ve always been this way so my thing at workplaces has always been like, “We don’t preach, we just baptize those who are ready.” And I think that’s more true than ever before. If I still have to sit here and explain to you why you need this, why this is important, I’m like, “Buddy, you’re going to have to get in the back of the line.” Right? It’s really for people who are like, “No, no, you’ve got to do this. You’re hungry, you’re ready.” And I think people understand urgency, right? Like not the… This is, and I’m sure you would agree with this Dave, this is not a wait and see kind of time.

David:

Yeah.

Shama Hyder:

Fortunes are made at this time, careers are made, leaders are made. This is a great time actually, to be alive and be in business. So that’s my take on it.

David:

Yeah, no doubt. And you’re living proof that with great change comes great opportunity. And you’ve been able to accelerate and expand during that period of time and coming out the other side. And I see about a third of the people being in a better place, a third of the people being in the same place. And unfortunately, a third of the people not seeing the light, the love, and the lessons in what we’re doing and unfortunately giving themselves a farther and heavier road to travel. But it’s truly a mindset and a heart set and you have the right mindset and heart set, where can people find you?

Shama Hyder:

Well, thank you. I appreciate that. And I hope you keep doing these because resources like yours, I think really help-

David:

Thank you.

Shama Hyder:

… the people that are hungry, that the… I mean, I love that you’re sharing so generously of stuff that I know corporations pay very big bucks for. So thank you Dave for doing that. People can find me pick your poison across social platforms. Of course, you’re on Instagram it’s Shamahyder and zenmedia.com if you want to learn more about us.

David:

You guys are amazing. Thank you so much. Let’s catch up and come on any time, let me know.

Shama Hyder:

I’d love that, talk soon. Bye.

David:

Have fun.

Shama Hyder:

Thanks.

David:

Take care of that baby. Congrats.

Shama Hyder:

I will, thank you.

David:

All righty, bye-bye.

Shama Hyder:

Bye.

Speaker 1:

Our external keynote speaker has come to us all the way from the US. She is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of Zen Media, which is a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has been dubbed the Zen Master of Marketing by Entrepreneur Magazine and Millennial Master of the Universe by fastcompany.com. Here to show you how to find the Zen in your social media marketing and to build momentum in the digital age, please welcome Shama Hyder.

Shama Hyder:

So when I was looking at social media, when I was doing my graduate thesis, I looked at why do people use it. Have you ever wondered this? Why people use social? Why are we even… How did everyone get so into it? Everyone’s wondered this at some point, right? And so my question was the same thing. It was like, “Why do people use social media? What drives us?” And I thought it was to have a sense of community, so people felt connected, so they can keep in touch, but I was wrong. Do you guys want to know the primary reason people use social media? Super important. Do you guys really want to know? Okay.

Shama Hyder:

It’s to showcase their own identity. Okay? It’s to showcase their own identity. And I promise you, if you truly take this to heart, it will change how you market your business online. It’ll be so dramatic. Because here’s the thing. We as human beings have always grown as human beings by self-reflection. So the earliest paintings that we did, like drawings and caveman, aside from cows, is of ourselves. This urge to know who we are and reflect back and have society reflect back to us, it’s really ingrained in us. And technology doesn’t change that, it just amplifies it. And I’ll prove it to you. How many of you have made fun of the friend who takes so many selfies?

Shama Hyder:

And then how many of you have turned around and taken a selfie of yourself and you’re like, “Oh, my God?” Right? How many of you are that friend? There’s no shame here. Okay. Awesome. No shame. No shame in the selfie game. But if you really think about it, you think about… And I’ve done it. I’m like, “Why am I taking this selfie of myself right now? I look cute, but why?” And what it boils down to is we do want to share who we are to the world. So if you think about this in social media, this is what it means for your customers, this is such a branding question. When you sit there and you think about what your brand stands for, who you are, and that’s great. It’s important to know where you come from. And you guys heard a lot about that. So important to know what your strengths are.

Shama Hyder:

But if this research is right, and it’s right, then the next question you should really be asking yourself is, “What does doing business with me allow my customer to see about themselves?” I know, it’s a little deep. I’ll explain. So your customers aren’t buying from you because you’re so awesome. They’re buying from you because they think they’re so awesome. Right? And hanging out with you, that makes them awesomer, for whatever reason. So if someone is buying vitamins from you, they care about it says something about themselves, right?

Shama Hyder:

So if you are expecting them to share that picture on Instagram and be like, “Check this out, or I love tea. I saw some great tea back there that I was sampling. This is my favorite tea,” whatnot, they’re not doing it for you. Or if they are, it’s going to be limited. But if they’re doing it because they want to showcase, “Look, this is so crazy. My life is hectic, but I still love taking a little bit of time for myself at the end of the day. And my favorite way to do it is this tea.” Do you see the difference in those two scenarios? Do you guys follow? If you can really make it about your customer, how can you empower them?

Shama Hyder:

Here’s what most small business owners don’t realize about reviews: A bad review can actually help your business, because it humanizes it.

Speaker 2:

All right. Let’s get to the next question; it’s about negative reviews.

Wes Schaeffer:

I have a question around poor reviews on social media, like Yelp, and on Amazon. I’ve had one person give a tremendously horrible review on a book that’s really unjust. How do we handle that?

Speaker 2:

All right. He’s talking about books, but this applies across the board. You’re a restaurant, you’re a service, you have a product, someone gives you a bad review. I also think, if you get a couple bad reviews and it is not truly reflective… If it’s reflective of your service, you’ve got to fix it internally. But if it’s not, you better bolster up that review site with some good ones.

Shama Hyder:

Absolutely. Here’s what most small business owners don’t realize about reviews: A bad review can actually help your business, because it humanizes it. The problem is when you only have one review, and it’s a bad review. Like with your sister, if you’ve got hundreds of really great, positive reviews, that one negative review actually makes you seem more human. It makes people believe the positive reviews more, just by contrast, so it can actually work in your favor. I think the key, though, is to not focus on necessarily the negative review, but make sure you’re constantly cultivating the positive ones, which most businesses don’t do. They’re so hung up on the negative ones.

Shama Hyder:

The importance of building your reputation online before you need it. If you think about the corner office, JJ, it used to be the corner office. It’d be the glass doors, the assistant when you walked in, and today, that really has shifted online. What that first impression is, when I type your company’s name into Google, or Yahoo, or Bing, what do I find? That’s my first impression; that’s your corner office. So how are you proactively building that reputation, so when people seek you out, and that really should be the goal of good business branding and marketing, is that people are now seeking you out, what’s that impression? And what are you doing to proactively cultivate a positive digital footprint?

Speaker 2:

I love the idea, too, before you need it. You may just be starting out your company, or you may not have anything big to announce yet, but you need an audience for when you do announce it.

Shama Hyder:

Right. And also, the other way to look at it, is people get scared when they have something negative online, whether it’s a negative review or just one bad piece of press. It’s because they have nothing good to counteract that; they haven’t really proactively built something. So obviously, when things like that happen, it’s the only thing out there that they let define them.

Speaker 1:

It makes me really happy to see when these little babies crash CNN interviews and BBC interviews.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible 00:00:06] hey, me too.

Speaker 1:

You get to see the reality. Sometimes I think we brush it under the rug, we cover it up, we don’t want to … but I think people are not only more accepting, but more appreciative of the real.

Speaker 2:

I think that’s probably always been true.

Speaker 1:

You think so?

Speaker 2:

I do. I think that it’s we have this idea that the image is what sells, maybe up to a point. People connect to real people. They always have. We recognize ourselves in others and then that connects us at a different level than, wow that’s impressive.

Speaker 1:

I’m laughing right now because I guess this is also going on a podcast, right Michael?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So people who can’t see, you had a wonderful wagging tail behind you.

Speaker 2:

I’ve got a dog with his head in my lap right now. Something exciting is happening in the background here, what’s …

Speaker 1:

We have a surprise guest.

Speaker 2:

Oh my goodness gracious.

Speaker 1:

We have a surprise guest. He looks very surprised to be here.

Speaker 2:

I think he’s a little baffled. Well, this is episode 18 by the way, if you’re listening at home. It might help, can’t hurt. For those of you listening on the podcast, we’ve just had a little visitor. He’s not very big at all. How old is he now?

Speaker 1:

[inaudible 00:01:41] how old are you going to be? 11 months tomorrow.

Speaker 2:

11 months. Whoa.

Speaker 1:

We have yet another visitor, if you this guy over here.

Speaker 2:

Oh, goodness. There’s dogs, and babies and everything. It’s very exciting.

Speaker 1:

This is what I get for working from home right now. Would you like to say hi? Would you like to say hi?

Speaker 2:

Hey bud, have you been in a lot of meetings?

Speaker 1:

All like this. Off you go, buddy. Off you go. Mommy’s going to go live. Mommy is live. She’s live.

Speaker 2:

Your mommy is live.

Speaker 1:

Mommy is live.

Speaker 2:

This is real life people.

Speaker 1:

I’m just curious what you’ve been saying to people right now that might help them get in touch more with their true essence or help them through this time.

Speaker 2:

Well, I like to think I say it nicer than this, but the main thing that I say is calm the hell down. Because honestly, until you do that, people don’t want to calm down until they figured it out. But you can’t figure anything out when you’re spinning. It’s like playing pin the tail on the donkey and spinning more, and more, and more and going, why am I finding it so hard to find the donkey’s butt to stick the tail? It’s like, come on. You got to stop spinning and then you can take a look, and then you can see where can I connect? It’s a weird analogy. It’s becoming weirder. [inaudible 00:03:13] I stick my tail on. I have a point. That’s the first thing is for people to really see we genuinely don’t make better decisions when we’re freaking ourselves out. People know that instinctively. So once they’ve calmed down enough to go, of course, that’s true. They tend to actually settle down the rest of the way.

Speaker 2:

The simplest way I think I’ve put it with anyone is, you probably don’t want to start your business strategy session by scaring the shit out of yourself. Then going, okay go, creative ideas. Now once people settle down, kind of like you were saying with, well, what else? What else have you got on the back burner? What else is there? Often stuff comes to mind almost immediately that they can do differently. So there are very few people that I work with who shouldn’t be in business because they know nothing about it. Most people actually, there’s a reason they’re running their business. They know something about it. When they’ve got access to their full brain, and wisdom, and insight, and creativity, and they look at it, they’ve got a lot. They very quickly see, you know what? This is something we can implement immediately.

Speaker 2:

So it’s the difference where it’s like, I don’t know if people have come to you and done this. But where they go, I need a hundred thousand Instagram followers tomorrow. That’s probably not a good short term project. But when you start to see, what do we need to do this week? What’s been interesting is watching clients’ timeframes change. So a lot of clients live six months into the future, four years in the future [crosstalk 00:05:04] future, and are afraid that if they get totally present, they’ll lose growth. It’s actually the opposite in my experience. That the more people really sit with what’s in front of them, the more it sets them up for what might be in front of them three months down the line, six months down the line, one year down the line.

Speaker 2:

We had it personally, where we had a growth target this year that we’ve already hit. Totally not in any way we planned, but simply by responding week by week to what was coming in. Just this longterm setup that we thought was going to be this epic two year project just happened. It really came out of getting out of the future, getting out of the past, getting present and going, what’s in front of me? I always say this, but we’re really good at eating what’s on our plate. We’re really bad at eating what was on our plate yesterday. We’re really bad at eating what we think is going to be on our plate tomorrow. We’re not made for that. We’re made for what’s on our plate today. When people stop being scared of that, actually it’s really fun. They remember why they do it. They remember the thrill of actually helping people and actually growing from that and actually being rewarded for that. That’s why people, most people, do what they do.

Speaker 1:

I love that you said that Michael. I think what’s really fascinating too, was one of the things that we work with our clients on is, I was telling the team yesterday, internally I was having a conversation. I said, well, so much of what we do is moment management. These long five-year, 10 year marketing plans, they don’t work. You don’t even know where you’re going to be six months. Any company that’s got a five-year marketing plan, boy. I’m quite impressed that you know the future, because things just change so quickly where I think what’s working so well in this environment is rapid change. Things that produce dramatic results, that you can do very quickly in taking advantage of things moment to moment. So with COVID, we saw so many of our clients actually have amazing success, hit their goals, go past it because they were very much like you said, leveraging that moment, being in the present. Not saying, what can we do tomorrow?

Speaker 1:

Not, what did we do yesterday? What can we do right now? What makes sense? I’ll forever be grateful. I know that the clients feel good about it. That when I approach them, they say, “This is your moment. Here’s why you have to do this and here’s why you have to do this now.” They listen and they say, “Ah, okay, I get it.” These are the clients that get ahead. I always tell people we have this other problem right now of the wait and see. I’m going to wait and see. The wait and see game. I don’t know what you’re waiting for. I don’t know what you’re waiting to see, but I think if you constantly play that game, it can be very not just disruptive, but very destructive to your business because you’re constantly waiting on other factors.

Speaker 1:

You’re constantly trying to wait, perfect that timing. Where it’s much better to say, what do we have right now? What can we use to our advantage? There’s so many conversations happening in the media for example. We have one client that I thought this was fascinating. They do a medical training, medical training for professionals like injecting Botox and things like that. They’ve always of course, done it physically because they usually need physical people to test things on and do that. We were able to take all of that and move it completely remote. We had the first couple of classes, really successful pilot programs to see, how do students respond? To the point where we could literally send dummies to their homes with saline injections that they could practice, just like we’re doing right now. The doctor could give feedback. The class could watch the technique and give feedback. So in some ways it’s so great because it’s like, you’re staying home. Why not get better? Why not build that muscle? Why not … do you have two dogs?

Speaker 2:

I do. Yes. So one dog is pepper and the black dog is salt.

Speaker 1:

Of course.

Speaker 2:

Of course.

Speaker 1:

Of course. I saw a white tail and now I just saw black tail. I was like …

Speaker 2:

I know.

Speaker 1:

Which funnily, we have one [inaudible 00:09:40] which is the white fluffy dog. I don’t know if you guys saw briefly. We’re getting another puppy this week because we’re nuts like this. So this puppy is three months old, hence the barking and the playful. There’s only so much you can do to control a puppy. We’re getting a second puppy this week, a giant schnauzer. We love giant schnauzers. We lost our dear giant schnauzer a month ago. We’re still broken hearted over it. We got the nephew, his nephew.

Speaker 2:

Oh wow.

Speaker 1:

He’s coming from California. We’re really excited. So we’re going to have similar of white and a black doggy. We just love the giants and we’re going to have two big dogs, and a baby and a business. We’re a little nuts around.

Speaker 2:

That is, to me, speaks to the fun of being responsive, as opposed to trying to control the future. It is so much less pressure to respond to … you know that phrase necessity is the mother of invention?

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

So clearly most people have experiences of that. But what they don’t get is that the reason necessity is the mother of invention is because of necessity, you got really present with what is. Of necessity, you stopped wishing. Oh, I wish this hadn’t happened or I wish I did … It’s like, you still probably wish that, but it’s like, whatever. I don’t have time to wish that. I need to pay attention. I need to look at what’s going on around me and I need to tap into whatever creative potential I’ve got. Because otherwise, we’re going down. Well, you can do that anytime. You don’t have to wait for COVID. You don’t have to wait for a challenge to your business. You don’t have to wait for it. You can literally show up that way to work every day.

Shama:

You started with, how do I reduce here? How do I get people acting in their best self? Being really transparent, letting them know here’s what’s coming, here’s how we’re going to do this. Twitter said everybody’s going to work from home for the remainder of the year. What I think is so cool is it takes away the uncertainty. Right? People don’t have to be like, “Do I go to work next week? Am I going back?” Being very clear. Right? Communicating, over communicating. What can you expect? If you’re losing your job, how are we helping you? Why is this happening? And so we think putting the people first, because then everything else falls into place.

Shama:

Hey, everyone, it’s Shama Hyder here. And I have with me a special guest today. Please meet Anthony Durante, CEO of Durante Rentals. Anthony happens to be a seasoned entrepreneur and his industry and business, of course, like many of ours are facing some very interesting, unprecedented times. And I wanted to get his insight on what is happening in the construction industry, but also the rental industry. Anthony has grown his business and has succeeded through ups and downs. He’s extremely well respected in his space, and I think you’ll see why. So Anthony, thanks so much for doing this with me.

Anthony:

Thank you, Shama. Happy to be here.

Shama:

You know, Anthony, I’m really curious because these last few months have been so tumultuous for all of us. What’s changed for you and your business, personally and professionally?

Anthony:

Yeah. I guess the biggest notable change with any downturn is the playbook is out the window. And we thought we might’ve had a COVID problem and then a recession problem and now there’s the protesting, rioting, and looting, so it’s interesting to see what will dictate how we move forward. I know that we physically change a lot of procedures and policies and plexiglass and everything. And not as obviously a lot more dimension and depth to the situations.

Shama:

And how has this affected your business? I mean, obviously you’re working from home right now. Right? Your team is at home.

Anthony:

So yeah, so we’ve just started coming back. The state has started lifting the restrictions that they’ve had. As far as impacting, fortunately we’ve had a lot of customer base being construction that were essentials. But even with essential jobs, even though I had friends saying, “Hey, that’s great. Your business is still going.” There was still essential jobs getting shut down because of COVID exposure on the job. So it’s been a bit of a challenge because one of the things that our businesses is having, a rental fleet, and you have millions of dollars on the line and a lot of notes from the bank is there’s always notes that are due and there’s a lot of equipment that’s out in the street. So it was a matter of how to protect the equipment, protect the employees, keep the banks at bay. And again, just trying to financially plan and strategically plan in advance for what was to come.

Shama:

Yeah. And Anthony, you’re in the New York area, you guys are in the tri-cities. Right?

Anthony:

Tristate. Yes.

Shama:

Yeah, Tristate.

Anthony:

Location in New Jersey, one in Connecticut, and then not 10 locations in New York, in and around the New York City area.

Shama:

Wow. You guys have been really in the thick of it.

Anthony:

Yep.

Shama:

Anthony. I know you’ve built businesses and you obviously led Durante Rentals. You guys are so many locations now and you’re growing, which I don’t think this is going to stop you from growing, but it definitely changes things. I’m curious if you can share some lessons of… You’ve done it all. You had the high times in business, you’ve gone through the lows. What advice would you have just in general for someone who’s watching and listening as they’re trying to figure out how to make the most of this. What advice do you have? For a lot of people, this is their first recession in business.

Anthony:

Yep. And this one came very unexpected and it’s not your typical recession. This could be short and deep, we’re not really certain. But the one thing that I do is I actually looked at this more of like, we’ve got a lot of emergency situations over the years, like ground zero, providing equipment, hurricanes and whatnot. So I looked at this less as a recession and more as an emergency plan. And I believe that with any emergency plan you don’t just run into when you see the fire. Make sure you got back up, make sure your pumps are hooked up to your hoses, and that you have the proper equipment and tools.

Anthony:

So rather than kind of just running forward or putting our heads in the ground, I’ve assembled my executive team early on and basically said, “What do we need to do to prepare for this?” And if you want, I mean, I’ve made up a short list of items that we’ve done to kind of get very proactive and ahead of it. And again, it was just very well planned, well coordinated, and massive amounts of communication up and down the ranks just to keep the team [crosstalk 00:05:09]-

Shama:

Yeah. Please share. I think that’d be really helpful for people right now who are trying. And I love what you said, this is less kind of the slow, drawn out recession, more an emergency. The fact that businesses have had to close, they’ve had to pivot. A lot of things happening very quickly. So yeah. Any insight you could share I think would be really appreciated.

Anthony:

So yeah, some of the stuff that I’m going to just walk through the steps that we took. So some of it was planned it and halfway through, we were kind of modifying and making up stuff as we go, because we didn’t [inaudible 00:05:37]. But basically, I mean, the first thing we did was when we saw this coming was we pulled as much money out of the banks as possible, so that God forbid there was any issues with the banks we at least had the funding in place, have the cash now and you could always return it.

Anthony:

The next thing I did, I thought about the 100 plus people that we have on staff. And I says, “Okay, how do we quell our own employees from fear or worry?” So I thought that kind of putting the employees in a good light was very important because otherwise while we’re trying to plan, we’re going to have employee questions coming in. And if it hits the wrong person and they get the wrong answer and it wasn’t something thought out, that can kind of spread underneath and turn into bed culture or rumors, gossip. So I wanted to get that out of the way.

Anthony:

So I immediately was messaging with the company, I shared with everybody immediately their accrued PTO because I didn’t know how long this would be. And obviously it was, “Okay, well, we’re going to have to reduce pay.” We pulled everybody down to about 40%. We really analyzed the government assistant programs that were out there, came up with a matrix, and basically educating the employees on how many hours and what that would look like mixed with government income. So we were able to put the two of them together. And although we reduced payroll to 40%, we actually achieved about an 85% using the two, the combination of the two, which was great.

Anthony:

We also took our vendors and we automatically pushed out our vendors and said, “We’re going to communicate that we’re not paying any invoices for 30 days.” We were excellent on our payment terms, so we were able to stretch that a little bit. We went immediately into our AR team and talk to them about the script and how are we going to collect money. Once we did that, I set up a dashboard. It was a very innovative dashboard that tracks [inaudible 00:07:23] things. I looked at our P&L, our cash forecast, our books, and I recognized that we can’t operate on a monthly review of what we set out in January when this wasn’t even on our radar. So we set up a week to week budgeting process of various different initiatives. And it was from collecting money to our AR columns to different types of revenue streams that we’ve had, the payrolls.

Anthony:

So everything was being monitored and micromanaged a bit. And that’s kind of the rallying information and data that we had. And the reason I also did that was I weighed everything against where we should have been as a company and I was able to set up some metrics and with that. So for example, if we build out 50% of what we should have, I had that at a 50% of 100 and then I had [inaudible 00:08:10]. It was a pretty innovative dashboard.

Shama:

That’s really cool.

Anthony:

Yeah. And we did that. The reason I did that is because it’s easy to sit there and say, “We’re collecting money.” It seems to be healthy. Or we’re billing X amount, it seems to be healthy. Or our deliveries went up, but [inaudible 00:08:25] the day you might have deliveries going out, but you’re not collecting money. So it kind of gets a health range of five different areas in the company from revenue to marketing to payroll. Once I put that in place, we were able to manage it. And then I moved on to some projects. We did infrastructure, moved my systems onto iClouds. I did phone upgrades, GPS upgrades, move to paperless contracts, [inaudible 00:08:47] boarding Salesforce, ERP upgrades and training. I mean, we really put a lot out there with the company.

Anthony:

The next thing I did was elevated a company president. I mean, and again, this is stuff that I didn’t plan on doing into 2021. But recognize that with 50% activity on the business, I can pretty much run the business like this. So rather than me lifting the company out, I took somebody that was a little bit better with managing the various projects and teams, elevated somebody else so that I can get onto strategy because our acquisition plan that we had in place that was very aggressive, obviously took a hit with stunted EBITA and cash flow. So instead I put somebody that was better at managing teams and projects than I was. I’m able to spend more time coaching this person and I’m able to get onto customer acquisition, which is where I am. And it [inaudible 00:09:35] a lot of conversations with key accounts.

Anthony:

I’ve also built an outside sales team, which I hired three people in the last week. We’ve never had an outside sales team, which is unheard of in our industry. So I’m focused on customers, sales team, cashflow back on track, EBITDA, bottom line, and then with that, we’ll be able to leverage more from the banks. And then with that, I’ll be able to do acquisitions on companies because as we all know, unfortunately, there will be a lot more companies that are willing to sell. So my whole thing was the 25 location plan that we had in the next two to three years, how do we attain that in 12 months? So all of this, protection of the employees, [inaudible 00:10:13] construction, keeping everybody focused on initiatives and not sticking their heads in the ground. And then with that is where are we coming out of this? So it was kind of a beginning and the middle [inaudible 00:10:22]. And I’m sorry, I went on so long, but-

Shama:

I let you keep going because I think it’s a masterclass. I think you literally delivered a masterclass in the few minutes.

Anthony:

I feel that I can’t speak on any one of these things without speaking the whole thing front to back because it’s a Jenga puzzle and you can’t just pull one piece out.

Shama:

And one of the things I really admire about you is that you’re not a wait and see kind of guy. This is the thing that I’ve been preaching against. People sometimes sit back and they’re like, “Oh, I should wait until…” No. I mean, you hit it right on the head, which is you have to pivot, and you’ve got to change every day. Right? To serve your customers and even your own role, the fact that you pivoted your own role to say, “Okay, where are my strengths best utilized given what’s going on?” Right? So in a non-tumultuous time, it may look very different, where it’s fine, your strengths can carry you through. But when things change and you’re like, “No, but this is where the company really needs me.”

Shama:

What I love, and then I’ll just hit these kind of high level, is that you put people first. You started with, “How do I reduce fear? How do I get people acting in their best self?” Being really transparent, letting them know here’s what’s coming, here’s how we’re going to do this. I think one of the very smart things that companies like Twitter, I mean, I think this is very smart. Twitter said everybody’s going to work from home for the remainder of the year. What I think is so cool is it takes away the uncertainty. Right? People now don’t have to be like, “Do I go to work next week? Am I going back?” And Airbnb, even though they had layoffs, Airbnb, I thought their CEO did an amazing job too of being very clear. Right? Communicating, over communicating. What can you expect? If you’re losing your job, how are we helping you? Why is this happening? And so we think putting the people first, because then everything else falls into place.

Shama:

And then the second thing we talked about, which I think is great is processes. When you’re revisiting your current processes, your ERP, your signatures, how you guys sell, all of it. And then the third being the pivot, which is as things change, as the tone of our country even changes and the focus changes, and conversations happen, and certain events happen that trigger people in different ways. And of course it all cascades, it affects all of us. I think that’s really interesting too, is that you’ve taken that into account to think about how that pivoting is important.

Shama:

One of the things that I want to hit on that you talked about, which is you’re in the Tristate area in New York. There’s been a lot of talk about infrastructure too. And can you speak a little bit, I know you’ve been a big advocate of infrastructure and clearly this is your bailiwick. Can you speak to a little bit of why infrastructure in New York, but also the country, makes such a big difference? I’m not sure people fully understand that at all times.

Anthony:

Sure. I mean, you look back to the ’30s, it was the public works projects that really got the country started that were put in by FDR. And New York obviously is very infrastructure heavy and there’s always work that goes on and needs to be done with the amount of bridges and tunnels. So a lot of families are moving out of New York, so the tax base is definitely going to take a hit. I think people with second-

Shama:

Then come to Florida.

Anthony:

I think people with second homes are deciding they’re going to change their address for a year or two. So I think we definitely have a money issue and we definitely need some federal help. I’ve been on a call with people in DC that I’ve kept connections with. I do caucus for the past four or five years. And one of the things they keep asking is, “Hey, both sides of the aisles like infrastructure. Can we get that rolling?” The other day, Governor Cuomo was saying, “We have plans in place. Let’s get some federal money, let’s get some spending on infrastructure.”

Anthony:

There’s a lot of people in New York that are tied to construction. And if you really want to pull New York through, I think infrastructure is a great way to go. And yeah, I mean, that’s really what I’ve been focusing my team on. And that’s why I’m even adding an outside team is in anticipation of it. And I found that just keep busy and I thank you for the comments because one thing that always echoed in my head was… Well, I’m using the word echo again, but the movie Gladiator, when he says, “What you do today echos in eternity.” And it’s just something I think about, whenever you’re in an emergency situation, that’s the war stories that you tell 20 years later. And I just want to make sure, for me and the company, that we weren’t caught flat footed, that we were innovating, and that we were always moving forward, and checking left, checking right, and just kind of communicating with the teams.

Anthony:

And we unfortunately did have a staff reduction of 17 people. But when we did the staff reduction, we guaranteed everybody that by the end of the year, there are no more staff reductions, because there were other employees that still had zero hours. So I didn’t want them to feel like, “Well, I didn’t have any hours worked during this time, so maybe [inaudible 00:00:15:21].” So again, I think it’s all of the above, just preparing. But yeah, infrastructure, if somebody out there can write some letters and make some calls, that would be fantastic. But one last thing to comment on, that is when I was with Nadia Valasquez, who is the small business chair, she said, “Write to your local [inaudible 00:00:15:42].” That really does matter. And that call was all about what can we do to get DC to hear us? And that’s what it was is just write to your local person. It means more than you could possibly imagine. So if you’re hearing this and you want to support infrastructure, find out who your local district person, your local representative is, and please just write to them.

Shama:

Anthony, what would you say? I know you have so many customers in the construction industry. Right? What advice do you have for them as they’re looking at projects, as they’re trying to figure out how to move their own businesses forward?

Anthony:

I mean, renting equipment is a cheaper alternative than buying equipment. So rent.

Shama:

Yes.

Anthony:

I think everybody’s got different plans and different playbooks. I don’t have an exact answer. I just look at being proactive, don’t stick your head in the ground. Know that people are watching you. And [inaudible 00:16:38] was very well aware of is that you don’t realize how much your team is watching you until in a situation like this. And I’ve had my nights where I’m crying to my wife or that I’m screaming up at the sky, but for the most part, in front of your team, you have to show strength and confidence. And then when you do that, they become confident. And then when I’m feeling down, I look at my team and they pull me through, and it’s truly a win, win.

Anthony:

But I’ve gone through the whole realm of emotion. So again, be proactive, don’t rush into the fire, take a step back, figure out what you need, and then move forward with the plan and make sure that your team is with you. Because as smart as we are as entrepreneurs, the goal is to be the person at the table that’s not the subject matter on any given topic within our company. That’s one of my specialties is just leveraging my team and letting them pull me forward.

Shama:

I think that’s really smart. And I know the renting the equipment, it’s funny. Obviously it is what you do, but I do think it’s an important point to make where you want to make sure that you’re being smart with your investments too. Right? So being able to go after your business and doing things project basis versus taking on more. You don’t want to be over leveraged. And so I think that’s a really good point in terms of how can you be leaner but smarter?

Shama:

I think that’s a great… A lot of times, people, even the businesses that have had staff reduction and stuff, and I said this to people in general, which is, I think a lot of it, we face unprecedented numbers of unemployment, but I also think it’s a matter where really you have to step up your game and be an A player. Whether you’re an employee, whether you’re an employer, and really do your best work, because I do think when things like that happens, the talent pool is also flooded. Right? You’ve got very talented people right now out there. So I do think it helps to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

Shama:

And you’re right, more people are seeing you than you realize, which I think was such a good point, Anthony. Your team looks at you, you set the tone for them, and more eyes are on you. And I think so many times people don’t realize that their reputation precedes them in so many ways. Of course, in our digital world, we actually see it. Right? We see it in reviews and feedback and whatnot, but so much of this happens qualitatively as well. And so great advice for your customer base too. But do you think the same thing applies to people in the rental industry? I know you’ve been such a proponent of doing the stuff that you’ve been with DC even lobbying on behalf of the industry. I know a lot of rental companies have been… This is a challenging time, especially if you’re in any type of, even like party rentals or event rentals, things like that. What advice do you have for the rental market?

Anthony:

I mean, cash is king. Normally that’s the first thing I gravitate towards with the business because cash will take care of everybody else. I think this one was a little different and it was an employee first. And then after that, it was really just, again, pushing out vendors and looking at AR. And then even with the projects that we took on, there was a period of let’s see what we’re doing with cashflow and if we’re hitting our short term projections, and again moving to that in between dashboard that was built. But really it was just about managing the cash and that was a very clear message to even the employees, because without cash, there is no business. And it’s amazing because we’ve shared cash reserves with employees in the past, explaining to them, this sounds like a lot of money, but in reality, it’s a six month reserve. And when we were able to go into this, at least people kind of understood now and they really got an education as, “Got it. Now we understand why we keep a cash reserve.”

Anthony:

So I think we won a lot of points with the training and the initiatives because everybody wants to advance professionally. And I think that everybody was very appreciative of the caring that we had put forth. On a footnote, I believe that we were the only rental company to shut down at any given point a hundred percent. We shut down March 17th to March 20th. And everybody was doing these step down plans. I was watching on LinkedIn. And I felt that that wasn’t enough because just because the government’s telling you something, we’re not scientists and this thing was coming hot and heavy. And I felt that the first thing to do is get the employees home and then we’ll figure out a open back up as opposed to everybody else saying, “Oh, we’re going to step down here.” And the next day, “Oh, we got to step down again.”

Anthony:

What message were you giving your employees when you were still trying to maintain revenue? Which I understand, I completely get it. But again, I’ve always said I’m an employee-first person. I believe in culture. And it was great that I was actually able to challenge myself with an event where it’s, “Do I go for cash or do I go for people?” And I put people and every time that we stepped back up and bringing people back in, even if they said, “Hey the government is saying we can come back in.” I’m not really concerned about the government because there is an agenda to keep the economy going. They’re not 100% on health. It’s a mix of finance and it’s a mix of health. And every decision that we’ve made with opening back up always started with, “What does that do for employees? And how do we keep employees healthy?” And everything else we’ll figure out.

Shama:

Yeah. Well said, and I think this is true. There might be folks who didn’t have the cash reserves, who didn’t think this through. Do you think this is, for the rental industry, do you think this is sort of a hang onto your hats and see if you can wait for things to reopen? Do you think it’s a great time for people to revisit… I like what you said. You’re revisiting how you’ve done sales, traditionally. You’re revisiting how you marketed, you’re revisiting how you’ve put your brand out there or haven’t put your brand out there. Do you think that’s an important thing for companies in the rental industry to be doing right now?

Anthony:

I hope I answer your question, but I mean, my last business did not end in success with the last recession. And I mean, I was treading water for a while and for anybody that’s treading water with limited cash flow, I feel for you. I’ve been there. And the one thing that I wish that I could go back and do is realize sooner than later that I was running myself into a hole. Because at the end of the day, if I’m going to lose money, I’m better off just staying home. So I think a lot of people are going to be treading water for a while. A lot of people who are financially secure are finding that there’s a new reality and it’s a very poor position to be in. And again, I say that with all sensitivity, because I truly understand what that means to people.

Anthony:

And if anybody’s out there and you’re interested in an acquisition and they want to reach out to Durante Rentals, I’m more than willing to help anybody. If anybody ever wants to pick my brain, just email me and we could set up a time and I’ll be more than happy to help people through it. But I’m proud of the team and what we’ve done and I thought we made a lot of great decisions. And usually I look back and have a lot of regrets and this one I’m actually very proud of. And if I could share any individual part of that, I would love to speak with anybody on that.

Shama:

Yeah. Anthony, I love that about you. You’re an honest guy. You’re a smart guy. I think the cool thing about talking with you is you’ve been through the gambit, you’ve taken your licks, you’ve learned from stuff. It’s always fun for me to talk to seasoned entrepreneurs because you’ve just seen it all. You’ve been through a lot of this stuff, and yet we’re still learning. Right? All of us are learning on the job. It never stops. And it definitely sounds like the plan you laid out made a lot of sense. And yeah, I do think what you mentioned is very smart and I think that’s a very generous offer too, is if someone’s thinking that, “Hey, maybe this is…”

Shama:

And I actually know quite a few folks who were thinking about the acquisition route. Right? Selling their companies, or maybe being part of a bigger team. Because this is a good time to, I think, stop and think about what do I really want from life? Not just from business, but what do I want from life? I know a lot of people who realize that they didn’t spend enough time with their kids and that they want something completely different because this gave them the opportunity. Right? They would have never chosen to stay home and figure this out. But because life’s given them this, they’ve realized something about themselves. So we think there’s a lot of people right now. I know a lot of folks, even in the restaurant industry, who in their seventies, late sixties, some early eighties, they’re just like, “I’m kind of done. This is my last week. I’ve enjoyed it. I built something great. But this is the time for me to retire or this is the time for me to exit.” And I don’t think there’s any shame in that whatsoever.

Shama:

So I think it is a good opportunity for businesses across the board to look at all your options. Whether it means looking at how you’re putting your message out there, how you’re presenting, because the other challenge is so many businesses that have just had one stream, revenue stream, or haven’t diversified. I was just talking about this the other day. Haven’t looked at all the different ways that they can drive revenue, or they’ve never let their employees ever work from home. They’re not even set up for this sort of thing. And so I think it forces you to look at and take a good, hard look at your… I think so much of what’s happening right now in the world, of course in our country, is forcing people to take a look.

Shama:

And I know there’s a lot of talk about 2020 should be canceled, but I was just thinking, what if this is a wake up call that all of us need? Not just in our businesses, but also in our lives, to be able to reassess and say, “What makes me happy? What makes me happy? What am I doing for my fellow man? What’s my legacy?” And I know you’re a lot about your legacy too, Anthony. I know you think about that a lot in terms of how you come up with your team, how you represent your industry. So any final thoughts on legacy and the importance of leaving or building a legacy? Because you’re right, the Gladiator quote is really apt. Right? It echoes.

Anthony:

Yep. So takeaways, I mean, change is good. Right? I think this is a great time to assess. I mean, the country in the world is going through a change and I’m the type that I try to stay positive and find anything with that change. And it’s change that we necessarily can’t control, so just kind of go with it. And the one thing I put in my head is there was riots in New York in the 1860s and we had 1960s, we had riots. So I mean, this is all part of our country. And I think that it’s symbolic of everything that everybody’s going through individually. I [inaudible 00:27:20] think that we’re all in our own tortured purgatory to a degree. But at the end of the day, there will be a reality [inaudible 00:27:27]. Everybody’s going to come out on the other side and everybody will be fine, with respect to where they were.

Anthony:

But again, to me, being in the ground zero of the impact was I think that a lot of other areas are going to come out faster. So for me, I felt I need to innovate and out-think just to keep up with the norm. So again, I would say if you feel that you’re falling behind a little bit, [inaudible 00:27:51] you’re above the middle of the pack, I guess that’s a good thing. As one of my uncles would say, “As long as the tips outweigh the jips.” So don’t get caught down the rabbit hole too much, find people like yourself, reach out. Again, my lines are always open. But just try to stay productive and keep your head on straight without running too much with your head down or running into a burning building without support.

Shama:

Great advice. Anthony, thanks so much for joining me.

Anthony:

Thank you Shama.

Shama:

This was fun.

Anthony:

I had a great time.

Shama:

I know the audience will appreciate this and your insight. And guys, do reach out to Anthony, especially if you’re in the rental industry, because he’s really taken the mantle of leader, sort of been forced upon him in some ways. And so thanks again, Anthony.

Anthony:

Thank you.

Shama:

Hope you guys enjoyed this.

Shama:

Be sure to check out more videos, guys. Tons more videos this way. Check it out. Be sure to subscribe and leave a comment. Let me know what you’d like to see me cover more. Until next time.

Shama Hyder:

If there’s one thing that we haven’t had since, I don’t know, the ’50s maybe, is a captive audience. Those days of having your market in a certain place at a certain time, that’s just gone. I think this is such an interesting time because for people who are recognizing this moment and are saying, “Wow, my audiences right there.” They’re watching these videos, they’re engaging, they’re commenting. I think there’s that, and I think then there’s a real hunger for understanding how to make the most of what’s going on.

Charlie:

Now, today’s guest is actually one of the most fascinating people that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know over the last, God knows how long here. It’s been a while. She’s actually the CEO and founder of one of the, let’s just say … Well, let’s put it this way. She’s the only new media company to be honored by both the White House and the United Nations as a top 100 company in the United States. Her name is Shama Hyder. Shama is, well, let me see here. I’m going to pull up her bio. She’s got so many things that I want to make sure I hit it all. She’s the top voice in marketing by LinkedIn for four years in a row. She’s a two time bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media, an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, winner of the Tech Titan Emerging CEO award, one of the top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs.

Charlie:

I can go on and on and on. She was actually called the millennial master of the universe. One of the more fascinating things about Shama, and the reason why I wanted to bring her on, is that she has a unique concept of finding moments. Moments in companies that allow them to increase their demand gen by a significant number. In fact, 80% of all her campaigns go viral. I have seen this work behind the scenes, even in today’s market, in today’s very volatile economy, she has taken companies that were seamlessly underdogs, that one would think had no hope of generating much demand and turn that into one of the most extraordinary opportunities in their business today. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you Shama Hyder.

Shama Hyder:

Hi, everybody. [crosstalk 00:02:53]. Charlie, can I have you do my intro every time I go live or [crosstalk 00:03:00]? That’d be pretty nifty.

Charlie:

I got to tell you though, in the beginning, I’m not used to getting on camera in a live situation. I had a little bit of a camera moment. I’ve gone, oh my God, the camera’s on me. I’m getting all tongue tied and whatnot. I’m used to being recorded, not live.

Shama Hyder:

Well, I was just about to say, I was like, your videos are some of the best that I’ve ever seen. I never miss any of your coaching videos. I love them all. So I was like, what are you talking about? Life is a little different. I could see that. I can understand that.

Charlie:

Well, this is not new to you, because you’re typically on stage when you can do conferences, what? Two, three, four times a month as a keynote speaker, somewhere around there

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. It’s funny because the keynote side, and then there’s the whole media side. I do a ton of stuff for like Fox business. I will tell you that the most harrowing thing, this actually doesn’t feel so foreign because I can see you. But when you do, and people don’t realize this, but when you do a satellite interview with a national publication and we coach our clients when they’re doing this, is you go into this room and there’s no one else in that room usually with you, so the sound engineers and stuff on the other side. You can’t usually see them, or you might be able to see them through the glass, and there’s literally an X taped, literally duct tape on the wall, and they say, “Look at that.” They put this little ear piece inside.

Shama Hyder:

It’s like having a little voice in your head, and then, but the audience sees you. So, you’re looking at this X because otherwise, it looks weird if they’re not looking at you.

Charlie:

Oh my gosh.

Shama Hyder:

That’s good practice because let me tell you, when you start, it’s the most unnatural feeling in the world because, even if you hear something in your ear, your instinct isn’t to look straight ahead and answer that question, it’s to be able to, I don’t know, like talk to somebody, to be able to connect. Just a lot of training, I guess, on that side and it will prepare you for any kind of live.

Charlie:

I would have to imagine. I want to do more of these Facebook lives, and actually this was inspired by a conversation that you and I had about the importance of just being out there. The content that you put out, I mean, you’re very voracious. You’re putting out content on LinkedIn and it’s why you’re one of the top influencers. You put out content on your Facebook profiles regularly, on Twitter regularly. Before we get into sort of those moments, why is what we’re doing right now so important?

Shama Hyder:

This specific live video? This is [crosstalk 00:05:41].

Charlie:

Yeah. Well, just in general. You’re so voracious in putting out content, and you really talked me into doing more of these Facebook lives. Why is what we’re doing right now so important, particularly in today’s market?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, so a couple of reasons. This is, I think, what so many companies and people aren’t understanding. One, you have a captive audience. Now we can talk about why you’re a captive audience right now, but the truth is this pandemic and this working from home and social distancing, it’s forced us even more to be digital than ever before. If there’s one thing that we haven’t had since, I don’t know, the ’50s maybe, is a captive audience. Those days of having your market in a certain place at a certain time, that’s just gone. I think this is such an interesting time because for people who are recognizing this moment and are saying, “Wow, my audiences right there.” They’re watching these videos, they’re engaging, they’re commenting.

Shama Hyder:

I think there’s that, and I think then there’s a real hunger for understanding how to make the most of what’s going on. I think there’s a moment here from so many different perspectives, and when all these different things collide, that’s where you … I call this like strategic serendipity. There’s this greater strategy. I follow it, and I know, Charlie, you follow it, and it’s this idea of doing things purposeful. When I put a piece of content out there, what’s the bigger goal? Then there’s that serendipity aspect where you don’t know that one thing that will trigger someone to say, “Aha,” have that aha moment or that light bulb moment to want to work with, to want to learn more, to want to engage.

Shama Hyder:

We think this is just such a great time in history to be able to do that. I think the brands that are really succeeding are the ones that are saying, okay, how do I, even if you’re not like busy in the usual sense, let’s say your business is in the usual, which really business is not the usual for any of us, but let’s say it’s not the specific speed or whatnot, great time to address all those back burner things. I can’t tell you how many clients we’re working with right now, they’re like, “Oh, that project we’ve always wanted to do, let’s do it now.”

Shama Hyder:

This is the time because it’s like the things behind the scenes, and when the curtain drops, because it will, right? The curtain will drop. Then it’s showtime. It’s the brands that have prepared, the ones that have put in the work. You know what? I love what you’ve taught me about only 3% of your market is ready to buy at any given moment. Right? That’s something you talk a lot about. We think it’s about that, about keeping consistent in the content that you’re putting out there, the messaging that you have and know that all these things are building on each other.

Charlie:

Now, this is the Beyond 7 Figures Podcast in a live episode format, and you talk a lot about moments. Now, talk to me about how a moment plays a part in taking a company beyond seven figures.

Shama Hyder:

Moments are really interesting things, because let’s step away even from the business side of things. I’ll connect the dots for you, but let’s just talk for people out there. If I asked you about your life, I bet you would answer in moments, right? It would be, maybe the moment you met Heather, it would be the moment you held your kid for the first time. Our lives are made up of these moments, and these moments have just such … We have such more emotional capital attached to them. You don’t tell me about this random Sunday that you had. That’s not usually how you describe life, but if you chain all these moons together, all of a sudden, you have a picture, you have a sense of someone’s life.

Shama Hyder:

Now, businesses, it’s very similar too, because even when you’re successful, especially when you’re successful, what happens is regular sort of marketing and PR, you’ll start to see diminished returns. This is just sort of par for the course. At any point, this is true for working out, as I’m learning now. [inaudible 00:09:59]. With anything that you do, you plateau eventually. When you hit a plateau, I think, this is where particularly moments are so crucial because you look at what’s the moment that’s happening, and then when you can leverage that, when you can fully take advantage of that, all of a sudden, you can catapult to the next level.

Shama Hyder:

It’s really great for breaking that plateau and getting to that next level. I’ll give you an example. Moments don’t even have to be major earth shattering things. But one of the [crosstalk 00:10:34] right now is, the Navy is one of our clients, the NEXCOM. For those who are not familiar, the NEXCOM for the military is like a Costco or a retail store on military bases. Anybody who’s military knows the NEXCOM. They do an amazing job. They really care about their customers. This whole month we’re actually doing customer appreciation, where all these entertainers and celebs are going live and entertaining the customers, and it’s really cool.

Shama Hyder:

It’s also the NEXCOM’s 74th anniversary. Rather than just taking that moment and saying, it’s your anniversary, this is happening, we have a sale, whatever. They’re really thinking about, how do we take this moment while we have this captive audience? So, we’ve been able to come up with this really cool concept that we’re executing with them and other partners, which is customer appreciation. You’ve extended sort of what might be an internal memo, what might be like a Facebook post, right? It might be, hey, it’s our anniversary, to really taking that, giving it legs, giving it … breathing life into it to turn it into a month long celebration of what the NEXCOM stands for, and being able to reach so many more customers with retention, but also acquisition. You’re getting on more people’s radar, you’re building that brand visibility. That’s just one example. It’s the idea of finding something that you feel is special. I’ll give you another example.

Charlie:

I’m going to interrupt you real quick. Let’s talk about NEXCOM for a minute. The traditional way of customer appreciation is to send a few emails out, maybe customer appreciations, or a few balloons in the front door, and maybe give away some handouts, something like that. They might do a little PR and say, “Okay, we’re going to do a customer appreciation.” That’s the way most companies will [crosstalk 00:12:31] customer appreciation, but what you’re suggesting is doing something different. Just so that I’m crystal clear, and so our audience is crystal clear, what’s so different about creating the moment? It’s more than just a few balloons and we’re going to offer a discount for a day or send a few emails. What are you doing that’s different?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. I would say a moment is described … it has to have three things, right? It has to be meaningful, so it’s got to be relevant. It has to be unique, it has to be something different. So, not sending out the emails, or customers, we appreciate you. All right, that gets drowned out in the white noise. Then three, it’s got to be connected to business outcomes. Meaningful, unique and differentiator. When you look at that and you say, “Well, this could just be a regular old thing. We might see a little blip perhaps in sales because we reached out to our customers.” Instead, what this does is create a very different sense of brand loyalty. It extends that, what might be a one day occasion into something that’s a full on campaign.

Shama Hyder:

See, now the process of writing or not approaching the media and saying, “Oh, guess what? It’s your 74th anniversary.” Great. What’s great? That’s it. But you’re really able to say, “Well, in honor of this anniversary, we are celebrating our customers who’ve helped us get to 74 years of success as an institution in the military, as something that’s really well respected and loved.” People who are very emotionally connected to the brand. It’s not something that is just a traditional retail outlet. This takes all of those components, and it just creates so much energy around it that, rather than now see like a blip in sales, you’re seeing a much greater wave, you’re seeing much more customer retention, you’re seeing a much greater customer acquisition.

Shama Hyder:

Because it’s one thing to say, “Oh, cool. I feel appreciated. Let me use this coupon.” It’s another to say, “Oh my God, this band is performing. This is so cool. Let me share it with all my other friends.”

Charlie:

See, and that’s part of, I know that 80% of all the campaigns that you create go viral. Right? Part of, I guess, going viral is when you’re doing something that’s unexpected, people take note and they want to talk about it and share it because it’s unexpected. What else goes into a campaign that is the difference between a campaign that falls flat versus a campaign that goes viral?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, so it’s really interesting. When I say viral too, as you say it, I think for some people they might think, oh, does that mean it gets a billion views? Some of our campaigns have. But what’s much more important is virality is described by business outcomes. For campaign like NEXCOMs to go viral, per se, specifically, it just means that it has to appeal to their audience. It goes viral in their ecosystem. Because if you’re not a shopper and you’re not a potential shopper, great, you can support it, but you’re outside our arena of influence. You’re not our target market.

Shama Hyder:

Virality for the sake of virality, and that doesn’t even get me excited. I’m like, okay, cool. But when you can connect the dots and you say, okay, this is how you drive business, I think that’s really key. The way you do that is obviously build awareness, you create just massive buzz around something, but it’s relevant too. It’s not buzz for the sake of buzz. It makes sense. Think about how timely this is, because you look at you look at very specifically, everybody being home, we are a captive audience. You can’t necessarily do … you also have all these artists. That’s the other piece of it.

Shama Hyder:

Or you got all these artists who want to perform. They’re artists, they love performing, they love connecting. They don’t have an outlet necessarily. They could go through their social channels, but it’s not like performing on stage. It’s a little bit different. So, you take that element and you say, wow, this is great. We can pull from this piece. We can pull from giving these artists a platform. They want to support the military. They want to support their country. They’re patriotic. That’s awesome. Wing All those pieces together. I think the difference too, when you look at moment-based momentum, the work that we do, is we pull from different areas where it makes a lot of sense.

Shama Hyder:

It’s so funny because it really is … it does have a time clock on it. I talked to another company.

Charlie:

Moments of a time clock.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, it is. Absolutely time clock. I talked to another company about a month or two months ago. They’re SaaS, they do financial services, and they have a lot of data. They have a lot of data on how Americans shop and consume and whatnot. A month ago I said, “Listen, I think this is amazing.” I don’t say this lightly and I don’t say this often, but I said, “This could be like a New York Times cover story, because you have data that if we track it, we can say, how is this pandemic changing habits for customers, how are the American people, how are their buying habits different now three weeks into working from home social distancing versus before?” I was so disappointed because this was one of those things where it was like, my point of contact, they were excited. They were like, “Oh, I can’t get buy in for my team or whatnot.”

Shama Hyder:

We had lots of other projects, so honestly, Charlie, I know you won’t love me for this, but I was like, “Okay, whatever. That’s fine. I’ve got other stuff to do. I’m not going to sit …” The team always jokes that I don’t like to preach. I will just baptize those who are ready. I think that’s the other thing about like, if you’re ready, so it’s very much that 3%. You’re ready, we’ll make it happen. It was really funny, because after that conversation, it was like, okay, the team’s just not ready. I’m like, “Okay, fine.”

Shama Hyder:

It’s so funny because just two days ago, New York Times did a cover story on exactly that topic. They talked about how Americans were changing their buying habits. They pulled from a lot of their competitors. It frustrates you, because I was like, that was their moment. What’s that word? What’s a covered story in the New York Times like that worth? [crosstalk 00:19:07]. Yeah, but so it does have a time clock. A moment is … you have to act, you have to act fast, you have to be decisive and take action. But if you do it, you do it right. You definitely see the benefit. I had so many examples of clients who’ve trusted us and said, “Let’s do it,” and it’s paid off.

Charlie:

Let’s talk about something for a second. As you know, I work with a lot of companies that are doing seven and eight figures a year. They may be comparing themselves the Navy saying, all right, well, I’m not sure that we’re the Navy, but is there a moment in my company, if we’re doing seven, eight figures a year, what kind of moments can we create? When you’re looking at a seven or eight figure company, and I know that you work with several as well, what are the type of moments in … There are two types, right? There’s ones that are basically gifted to you, right?

Shama Hyder:

Like now.

Charlie:

Like now. Then there are moments that you can manufacture and you can create. Can you go over a bunch of different examples of the different moments, and maybe how you applied it today when things are more volatile and tough for many [crosstalk 00:20:21].

Shama Hyder:

More again.

Charlie:

Yeah, load of questions.

Shama Hyder:

No, I love this. It’s so much fun. I could talk about this all day. To me, this is a really fun thing. Regardless of this is the thing, it doesn’t have to. Yes, we work with the NEXCOM, we work with Chase. We work with a lot of these brands, but we also work with a lot of these middle market companies, smaller businesses even, because much more important than the size of your is the size of your vision, and your ability to say yes to things, to play the game. I think that’s so much more an attitude. We worked with huge enterprise companies, where the team was so smart, and yet, such a hard time getting buy in from their top brass because they didn’t get it for whatever reason.

Shama Hyder:

That’s really hard. Then the cool thing about working with middle market and small businesses sometimes, the seven to eight figure folks that you’re talking about is, the buck stops with them. So, as long as that leadership is excited and good to go, the sky’s the limit. You can actually move faster because there’s not as much red tape. When you work with the military or enterprise or anything, often the time it takes to sometimes get to something, you lost some of the time and flavor, versus when you work with a company, where decisions can be made rapidly, like, yes, no, we want to do this different. Yeah, let me give you a great example of a smaller firm that we worked with, manufacturing. You wouldn’t think it’s the sexiest of industries, and let’s face it, it’s not Coca-Cola.

Shama Hyder:

It’s a manufacturing company based out of Kansas, so not a major co. What was really interesting was when all this happened, the moment was to talk about supply chain, and because they’re manufacturing, and they actually … it’s not even that they just have all their operations domestic, they actually even had international. But here’s the cool thing is because we’d worked with this company over the last year or two, we’d already those kinds of relationships, like, we’ve got some of that going. So, when this hit, we were able to take that client, right now he’s the defacto expert on supply chain for most of the major networks. [crosstalk 00:22:42].

Charlie:

Because you created that moment for him to be [crosstalk 00:22:47].

Shama Hyder:

Yeah, of course, because we laid the groundwork, so got sites in place, like build thought leadership, your bio, who is this guy you’re pitching [inaudible 00:22:54]. No, no, you’ve got to structure. The cool thing was we built that structure. When we could manufacture this moment, so it’s like what’s happening right now. Even three weeks ago, when all this happened, one of the things that’s been, of course massively affected is supply chain, and there’s huge focus on, should be focused on international supply chain, like is domestic always the way to go, and to be able to take our client and say, “Here you go. This is the moment where you step forward, because not only is this your wheelhouse, you do manufacturing.”

Shama Hyder:

Imagine, when he gets on Fox Business and says, “Listen, this is what we’re seeing with our customers. This is what we know to be true about manufacturing. This is what we know to be about supply chain. We’ve been doing this for 20 plus years. This is our expertise.” The phone rings.

Charlie:

Yeah. I’ve talked to several clients who have been remote their entire lives, and one particular client, they have a hundred employees that have been remote.

Shama Hyder:

This is their moment.

Charlie:

[crosstalk 00:24:05] tremendous opportunity to leverage a moment when people are wondering, how do we go remote? Well, Hey, guess what? We’ve done this for a while. We can leverage remote.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. Sometimes things, even when there’s … I will say this. Even when there’s a macro moment, it’s still on you to weave that in and create that micro moment. It’s kind of broader context. The cool thing is people don’t realize you can have moments simultaneously. You could have this moment where you’re talking about how remote businesses is the key to success, or another client of ours, this was really interesting, small business. They do digital newsrooms for huge corporations. They run Nissan’s media room, like the online room. Of course, the cool thing is they see trends that nobody else is privy to.

Shama Hyder:

Generally, it’s like an interesting business, but right now, to be able to say, guys, finding moments is like you have a spotlight and there’s a big dark stage, and you can put that light where you want it to go, and to say, look, what role are newsrooms, media rooms playing right now in this ecosystem? How did they, all of sudden … they used to be like the stepchild of websites, and now they’re so important because it’s the first step. It’s more than media right now. Every consumer, every customer looks at immediate room, like that’s where people get their tweets and so forth.

Shama Hyder:

There’s just so many ways that you can create moments, but also leverage kind of what’s happening in the ecosystem right now to take full advantage of it.

Charlie:

Yeah. I think that one of the more fascinating things, what I love about a moment is that we live now in this market or this economy where there’s just so much noise, and everybody is saying the same thing and tripping over each other and just trying to scream louder and scream louder and scream louder. But to your point when you mentioned that, if you can take a unique angle on a popular or interesting, or notable type of event, you end up almost putting mute on everybody else, and all the attention is immediately focused on you. The funny thing is, is when you own the moment, you’re going to find competitors trying to piggyback on that moment. But then they end up looking like the copycats.

Shama Hyder:

We’ve met plenty of that. Trust me. We’ve had plenty of that from clients where they’re first and then they’ve got lot of copycats. I have clients, and I won’t name them, but I have clients with their competitors, and they’ve sent me screenshots of copying the exact, you know what I mean? To a T.

Charlie:

I don’t know if you’re comfortable with talking about this example, but one of the ones that stands out to me when we’re looking at an industry right now where the entire world is shut down with coronavirus, restaurants are being closed, many of them going out of business, you took actually a company that you work with in the restaurant industry, and you actually created a moment where they are thriving, I dare say, even better than they did in the good times, but I’m not sure. I’ll let you take it from there.

Shama Hyder:

They’re doing just phenomenally well, and I’ll tell you a couple of keys to their success. One is their leadership. The company is OneDine. They’re in the restaurant tech space. As you can imagine, when this happened, restaurants were so hard. What was interesting is I got a call from the CEO, and his name is Rom. He’s a good dear friend, very smart guy, brilliant even, and just a great heart. He called, and we have that kind of relationship. I like having that kind of relationship with my clients where we have, and I know you do Charlie, where you feel like I love working with these people.

Shama Hyder:

It’s fun. So, I get this call, and I’m thinking, oh man, he’s going to be freaking out right now. This is bad. You’ve got restaurants shuttering. This is right when everything happened, just nobody knew what was going on. It was complete chaos. He calls me and I picked up, and I was like, “Hey, how are you doing?” I was like, “Crazy times.” He said, “We have to double down.” And I was like, “What?” [crosstalk 00:28:47]. You always want to be sensitive in times like these. I tell this to clients, and sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy until they see the results.

Shama Hyder:

Then it’s like, ah, that’s what you’re talking about. Before Rom called me and say, “We should double down.” I was like, “Okay.” He’s like, “Listen, we have this team. I don’t want to lay people off. We have this industry, we’re still committed to. I’ve been working this industry for 20 plus years. I don’t want to let these guys down. If for some reason, it all goes to hell like, oh well, but at least we know we did everything possible and we left no stone unturned, so what can we do?” I loved that. He said, “Do you think this is our moment? Because I do.” I was like, “Yes, it is our moment.”

Shama Hyder:

It was really cool within that one call, and it’s very energizing too, again, when you have a leader that comes from a place of not fear, not from a place of, oh, no, like could have been a very different approach. We talked and we said, listen, this [crosstalk 00:29:58].

Charlie:

Hold on one second though, you say I think this is your moment. Now, I want to dive into your head. When you say, I think this is your moment, walk me through what are the internal questions that you’re asking yourself in order to determine, yes, I think this is a moment and here’s how we’re going to create a moment from this.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. To me, when I say this is your moment, I’m thinking the precedent is talking about restaurants. Everyone is talking about restaurants, but [crosstalk 00:30:31].

Charlie:

So then, where do you go from there now?

Shama Hyder:

Because they’re talking about restaurants, and the current narrative is scary. It’s scary, it’s fear, everything’s shutting down, it’s pull back. The moment there is, it’s almost a little counter intuitive, but it’s like, what would be the opposite approach? I was just reading this article about Rockefeller, and I’ll share it with you, Charlie, because I know you love this stuff about how, when he was a young man, I think 1857, he’d just gotten his first job and saw the market crash and it lasted for years. But one of the things people said about him and he learned in that crisis was that, when people got scared, he got braver.

Shama Hyder:

The more chaotic it got, he got calmer. I think the moment for me is like, I look for that within that framework. In all this chaos, I can see opportunity. In some ways, I will say just naturally, it’s a gift, right? And not give people a lot of things. You know me well enough to know that story. People [inaudible 00:31:42] often borderline terrible, if not just outright inappropriate. I’m not great at a lot of things, but one thing I will say has been a talent from a relatively young age is being able to kind of spot those opportunities. When you can spot that opportunity and you have that lens and you hone it over the years, doing this for so many clients. So, I know what works, I know what doesn’t work. This is very different than a gimmick. This has to come from a place where it serves a natural need. Again, it’s meaningful, it’s unique, and it’s a business driver. In this case, [crosstalk 00:32:17].

Charlie:

Which is interesting that you said one of the first things you look at is how can I do something opposite of what everybody else is saying? Because that initially is unique.

Shama Hyder:

It is. You’re right. All this kind of smoke, and to be able to see the exit sign through the smoke. The difference is, and we had a moment here, but I also knew it was going to be a long game to some degree. It’s funny, because it is counter intuitive. You don’t think, oh my God, I’m losing customers. Let me invest more. But it’s the very thing that works. We looked at the technology and again, Rom is very committed to the restaurant industry. I think that, again, this comes to the leadership. I can’t make this up. You have to have the steak, I can provide the sizzle. In that case, there’s a lot of steak.

Shama Hyder:

There’s heart, there’s good ideas, the team is there. All those pieces are there. They have expertise. They know their industry really well. So, we were able to say, we have this technology, let’s pivot this and let’s offer it. Let’s offer any restaurant that wants to now offer curbside dining to be able to order, pay completely contactless for free. We will give them that technology. Within, let’s say 48 hours, 1500 restaurants had called up.

Charlie:

Wow. That’s phenomenal.

Shama Hyder:

It’s massive. Because again, what’s going to happen is this crisis is going to lift, restaurants are going to reopen one. OneDine is very smart. We’re now constantly looking at micro moments and how we pivot, and I’ll give you an example of that in just a second. You look at this big picture and you say, okay, as we’re working these restaurants, what percentage do you think have said, “Hey, this technology is really cool, thanks so much for helping us out right now. We’d love to keep working together once things get back to [crosstalk 00:34:11].

Charlie:

Right. That’s brilliant.

Shama Hyder:

Then a micro moment in all of this [crosstalk 00:34:15].

Charlie:

How many of the press picked up on it, and how many people on social media picked up on it, and then said, “Hey, you need to take advantage of this if you’re doing curbside check-in?” Because [crosstalk 00:34:27].

Shama Hyder:

Millions. I tweeted myself, and it had, I don’t know, last I checked 800 retweets.

Charlie:

If I was to pay for that type of exposure, what would that dollar be?

Shama Hyder:

No, you can’t even pay for that kind of exposure.

Charlie:

Take a guess at what is the impact.

Shama Hyder:

It would be the same number of views that a Superbowl ad gets you, but with a lot more authenticity.

Charlie:

So, millions of dollars. Right?

Shama Hyder:

Yes. Easily.

Charlie:

The beautiful thing about an ad versus a moment is an ad historically is not trusted because I’m putting out an ad about myself. You’re not going to trust what I say about me, because you’re expecting me to say, I’m Nicole, I’m the best of everything else. But the moment you create a moment, you’re actually creating a situation where other people are now talking about you and I am more likely going to believe somebody else. Therefore, my conversion rate will be higher. I’m going to be pre-sold because I trust somebody else. It’s really exciting because, when we’re talking to small business owners many of them would think, okay, moments are great for big companies, but moments are equally as powerful, if not more powerful for small business owners.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. They’re more powerful because they give you an advantage over huge competitors. It provides leverage like no others. Huge companies sometimes don’t need that leverage as much, or it does, like it moves them maybe a little bit. For a small company that’s starting over here, you give them leverage, they’re over here. It’s very different than seeing me on the screen. It’s a very different concept. Yeah, and it’s really funny. That’s the thing. Once you have the moment, you create momentum around it, and it keeps growing and growing. That’s the cool part about it.

Charlie:

How do you create momentum around it?

Shama Hyder:

You keep it going. One of the things you mentioned was so smart, and I’ll this only for your audience. This is not something that I generally share across the board, but one of the things that we’ve had a lot of success with is, rather than running ads to … Again, we’re very different than a traditional PR firm or traditional marketing firm. Our focus is very much these moments creating momentum. Part of that is looking at multiple tactics, not just media relations or whatnot, but one of our tactics has been to amplify press wins using Facebook ads.

Shama Hyder:

Rather than someone saying, “Oh, we’re so cool. Here’s your ad.” You’ve got Forbes saying, you’re so cool, what they do, and then amplifying that. There’s multiple ways to keep that going. The other part is, when you have that moment, you’re always looking for more sparks, if you will. I’ll give you an example when, and one of the press conferences, and God knows we have enough water these days. Every day there’s … I watch them because I’m like, I know there’s moments in here. Dr. Fauci gets on, and this was maybe a week ago, and he says, “I was taking a walk right outside in D.C.,” and he says, “I was so proud to see a restaurant offering curbside. They’ve got a sign outside. They’re telling people where to sign, where to stand, where to get their food.”

Shama Hyder:

I was like, that’s us. That’s us, that’s what we’ve been doing, It was really cool too. Then of course, we start that tweet, and we start that going. Now, we’re even pivoting because we’re looking ahead, and in fact, just yesterday, I was talking to Rom, and we said, look, the moment now is to … like the next. You always want to look at what’s next. You want to be able to keep that going. What’s next is we’re not going to go back to normal. There’s a new normal. I know you and I’ve talked, Charlie, and I guess your wife is lovely enough where she’s cooking you a lot of meals. I’m still risking COVID because I’m ordering in. I just don’t order in a ton.

Shama Hyder:

We know that when people go to restaurants, they’ll expect a different experience. We will expect a different experience. When you hand your credit card to someone, you’re going to think twice about them handing it back to you. When you’re looking at that menu, you’re going to think twice about how many people have flipped that menu. All these things. With OneDine, we’re really focused on what is this pure order paint solution of the future look like where it’s the most hygienic experience a restaurant can offer? I think this is going to be the new normal. Part of that is pivoting and figuring out, all right, how do we take our offerings and make sure that we are now creating that next moment and so forth?

Shama Hyder:

In some ways, it’s a campaign approach, in other ways, it’s very much a process. The majority of the clients that we work with, we’ve worked with for years, because you’re constantly … Once you understand the audience and you have those media connections and you’re this media darling, in some ways, you want to keep that going.

Charlie:

Let’s play a game. Let’s go back and forth to uncover as many different moments to give our listeners an example as we can think of, either company examples or whatever. I’ll start.

Shama Hyder:

So many. Okay.

Charlie:

I’ll say Amazon Prime. Prime Day, rather. Prime Day. That’s a moment. Prime Day is a moment. Your turn.

Shama Hyder:

I was going to say Harry Potter. I don’t know [crosstalk 00:40:23].

Charlie:

You must have your son somewhere near you, right?

Shama Hyder:

Oh my God. Yeah. Home Depot, not to be confused with Harry Potter. Home Depot definitely use the moment because they said we’re not going to sell masks to the public. We’re going to donate them. That was a huge move.

Charlie:

That’s actually pretty cool.

Shama Hyder:

Very smart. Who goes to Home Depot to buy mask? That’s a very small part of their business. But it’s a very brilliant strategy to be able to say all right, we won’t sell these. We’ll just donate these.

Charlie:

Yeah. I think that’s a good idea. Another moment is, I’ll say probably a moment that they could have leveraged it far more than they did. Volvo decided that rather than you having to drive to the shop to have your car done, they were going to offer a valet service. They could have created a moment, so now …

Shama Hyder:

I didn’t know about it, so they clearly missed the boat.

Charlie:

Yeah. That’s the thing. They missed the boat on a moment that they could have taken advantage of. What they did is they pick up your car, they cover it in plastic, totally hygienic, they drop it off, all covered in plastic, take it off, scrub everything down with anti-bacteria. It’s a moment that they could have leveraged.

Shama Hyder:

It is. Here’s the thing about moment. This is really interesting, Charlie, you said there’s two parts to it. It’s creating that, like that was a cool, that’s a great way to capture a moment, but then you have to amplify it, and they didn’t amplify it. [crosstalk 00:42:06].

Charlie:

You’re absolutely right, and that’s why it fell flat. So, they have a moment, but they didn’t amplify it, because-

Shama Hyder:

[crosstalk 00:42:15] the amplification.

Charlie:

Yeah. Go ahead.

Shama Hyder:

My turn, right?

Charlie:

Your turn.

Shama Hyder:

[crosstalk 00:42:23] so many. Okay. This one’s a client, go figure. Forbes. Forbes8. Forbes8 is like the Netflix for entrepreneurs. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a really cool app. You get to see a lot of entrepreneurial content. Again, I love the leadership because this is where it makes a difference. I had this idea when South by was canceled. I called, Tom was the CMO of Forbes8. And I said, “Tom, listen, South By got canceled.” Again, you pull different pieces. All these speakers that were going to speak, I know many of them, their friends, their colleagues. They don’t get to do their talk. Their audience were very hungry. They wanted to hear it. You guys serve entrepreneurs. This is your chance. Why don’t we do a summit for business resiliency?” I said, “Tom, I think this would really be solid. This is your moment. You serve entrepreneurs.”

Charlie:

[crosstalk 00:43:20] moment.

Shama Hyder:

“You’ve got, again, this other piece that we can pull in from.” Tom and team said, let’s do it. We’re passionate. We want to help our entrepreneurs. We literally put this together in a week, getting these speakers, getting this whole Business Resilience ESummit.

Charlie:

You had one really good speaker there, for sure.

Shama Hyder:

Yes. I think his name was Charlie.

Charlie:

Charlie’s something. I don’t know. I have this weird multicolored goatee, a lot of white in there.

Shama Hyder:

[crosstalk 00:43:46]. Yeah, Charlie, your topic was actually one of the most that we had the highest feedback for and people were so excited. It was very well received.

Charlie:

Really? Oh wow, thank you.

Shama Hyder:

It was crazy. We pulled that off in a week. Again, it’s cool because captive audience, speakers are ready. These speakers, like yourself, Charlie, usually in a non-pandemic time, not the right moment, they’re not available like this to pull something together quickly and record. I couldn’t do it. I’d probably be on a flight somewhere. It just takes longer. But in this given atmosphere, it makes perfect sense. We’re able to pull people like you and pull speakers were like, this is great content. God, almost 3000 people attended live.

Charlie:

That’s phenomenal.

Shama Hyder:

I think we’d over almost 6 million impressions on the campaign, huge success. You couldn’t even do that in a live event. You just couldn’t. It was such a great moment. It was taking advantage. But I think these are sort of the key things. The leadership has to understand, they have to be willing. It’s a different mentality. I think there’s definitely a sense of like, you have to have a little bit of playfulness to say this is good. This is cool. Not that they didn’t have concerns, but they were definitely … You have that conversation. The concerns were so wonderful too, because they said we want to be sensitive to what’s going on.

Shama Hyder:

We also don’t want it to seem like we’re trying to take something from South Island. I said, “No, not at all. People are hungry right now. It makes a lot of sense. You’re providing value. You’re serving your community. That’s all that matters. They got that. They were like, “Oh, okay, I get it.” I think all these things make a difference, but I loved that. That was such a funny example. We pulled this off. Again, all these campaigns we’ve pulled off in the last … these examples I’m giving you are literally in the last couple of weeks.

Charlie:

There’s traditional advertising and then there’s traditional PR, and then there’s I guess moment advertising, right? Traditional advertising, it’s, you’re not really going to believe what I say about you, but it’s still really important because you’re creating that effective frequency and you’re sending those impressions, and you’re still creating some demand. Regular PR, that’s great. But regular PR, it’s nice to say I have a placement in the New York Times or Fox or whatever, but that doesn’t always necessarily create demands. You’re like that bit in the middle where you’re getting the media impressions, you’re getting the people to talk about you, but you’re also creating that demand. [crosstalk 00:46:23].

Shama Hyder:

Because it has to be relevant to your audience. I think this idea would only work for certain brands. You had to serve entrepreneurs for this to work. If I take this to someone else and say, “Oh, you should do this.” If the audience is like, but we don’t serve entrepreneurs, for example. If that’s not their audience, doesn’t make sense. Might do really well, but you don’t connect those dots. In this case, those entrepreneurs watching and stuff, not only do they get value, they’re now introduced to the Forbes8 app. They’re like, “This is cool.” It’s a whole different level. You’ve got to pick something that makes sense for your audience. I think this is very key, rather than this is the difference with the bullseye approach, or say, the let’s throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks approach.

Charlie:

I gave another example of one that you and I spoke about prior, and it was just a really phenomenal small company. It’s called Alehorn. They sell really unique drinking mug, a fascinating product. When you’re apart from your friends and whatnot, the conversation was, so how do you create a moment right now with a drinking horn? How would you create that moment? In a conversation with you, you came up with a #ApartButNeverAlone. Then we built an entire campaign with the client about apart, but never alone. It was really just a phenomenal way again, to get people engaged wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity. The company is just fantastic as a great product. It makes the product very relevant in today’s economic situation. That’s another example, and I know we’re running short of time, so let’s rapid fire, either examples that fell flat or examples that were awesome. Let’s keep going.

Shama Hyder:

Okay. Another example that did well. I’m such an optimist, positive person, I guess. Carter’s. Carter’s did this great video campaign, which I thought was so cool, because you’re not shooting ads. They collectively, all the employees shot their children at home during this time and they have this lovely song that all the kids sang separately, and then they put it together, and it’s really cute. It’s wonderful [crosstalk 00:48:58] children’s brand. So, I’m watching that again, I’m their market. I have an eight month old. I buy Carter’s. [crosstalk 00:49:06].

Charlie:

Yeah, totally.

Shama Hyder:

It spoke to me as a mom. I’m watching this and going, “Oh, that’s so cute.” It’s not for everyone. It’s not meant to go viral to people who could care less. But if you were a parent and you see that and you see these cute little kids making chalk drawings on the sidewalk and saying how they get more piggyback rides now, it speaks to you. I thought that was such a great campaign. Great example of leveraging the moment that really speaks to their audience. Of course, it’s going to drive business. Like I thought about that, and I thought, oh man, my kid’s outgrowing his pajamas like crazy. I need to buy more. Really, it was like an instant connection.

Charlie:

Another moment, and this would have been a controversial moment is when the founder of Dick’s Sporting Goods, during the massacres that happened, the school shootings, he made the decision that he was going to get rid of … some of the stats, I may be a little off on this, but he made the decision that he was going to get rid of guns, not sell guns inside of the Dick’s Sporting Goods. But rather than sell it back to the manufacturers, he said, “No, we’re going to destroy them instead.” He created that and ended up a controversial. He took a topic that people were talking about with school shootings and created a moment from that where he got rid of the guns and destroyed them instead of selling it back. So he got tons and tons and tons of notoriety and discussions and whatnot related to that. So, [crosstalk 00:50:42].

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. Here’s the thing too. This is also interesting, based on leadership. We have clients who are totally fine pushing the envelope and say, “Listen this is what we believe in. This is what we stand for. We want to take a stance.” That looks very different. A moment can be contentious and polarizing, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ll give you an example of the flip side of that. We worked with Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream brand. At that time, Sean Spicer was Press Secretary, and he had, for some reason, been very irate with the ice cream band, and he tweeted all these things [inaudible 00:51:19]. I don’t know. The idea was like, how do we respond to this in a way without polarizing? Because shocker, Democrats and Republicans enjoy ice cream, who knew?

Charlie:

Me, maybe too much. I might enjoy ice cream too much.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. You and Patrick both. Oh my goodness. I cannot [inaudible 00:51:38] the same, or like, yeah. I’m glad that that’s not, by the way, an emergency supply, because we would have none. It’d never lasts. I wonder if he’s here listening to me saying this. But it was interesting. We can’t be too divisive here. You don’t want to be too divisive. Ice cream brings people together. The campaign there was an open letter from the CEO that really spoke to the press secretary at the time, and said, “We’re sorry you’ve had these experiences. We’d love to do an ice cream social for the press report.” For the press room. “Let’s be friends.” It was really like this sweet, almost sugary like that’s ice cream. It’s about ice cream. It’s funny.

Shama Hyder:

It’s a little tongue in cheek about how the company was creating American jobs. It made the point without being, in any way, contentious. That was such a massively successful campaign. I think there were like a billion impressions in the first 48 hours international press. We won two Gold Addy awards for that campaign. It was great. Part of it was also because, when we talked to the CEO, when we talked to the leadership team, they said, “Let’s do it.” They trusted. It could have been like, well, we should probably not say anything. Step away. That would have been an option. It was an option, but because they were like, let’s do it, let’s take that risk, let’s get it out there. It was amazing.

Shama Hyder:

I love Dippin’ Dots was trending for like six days straight on Twitter. By the way, to get a promoted tweet, because I know you like these numbers, Charlie, it’s $200,000 a day to promote a tweet roughly. When you see those little promoted tweets, so you can organically get something like that to trend, I’ll let you do the math.

Charlie:

Yeah. That’s pretty damn good.

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. I’d say so.

Charlie:

All right. So let’s recap here. In order to create a moment, a moment needs to be unique, it also needs to what?

Shama Hyder:

It needs to be a business driver, so meaningful …

Charlie:

A business driver.

Shama Hyder:

… or unique. Something different than the norm. It has to be a business driver. It’s got to be meaningful, it’s got to be unique and it’s got to be a business driver.

Charlie:

Then to create this, it needs to be simple. So, simple, so easy to understand.

Shama Hyder:

Easy to understand, yes. Relevant to your audience.

Charlie:

Yeah. Then so the same method. So, simple then the A is amplifying.

Shama Hyder:

Yes.

Charlie:

That could be amplified through PR, in addition to social and so forth.

Shama Hyder:

It’s telling the story. Storify, how do we turn it into a story? Not just for the media, but the bigger story, how do you amplify it? Then how do you measure? Because part of this is also like, what are we seeing? It’s funny because it starts with art, but there’s a lot of science to this in that we’re looking at numbers. Wow, this is really doing well. This is the message people are resonating with. This, not so much. You’re, in very real time, also honing that.

Charlie:

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. All right, so any last minute advice for companies that want to go beyond seven figures?

Shama Hyder:

Yeah. I’d say absolutely look for those moments because they exist. I promise you, I’ve yet to meet a company, Charlie, where I could not find a moment for them, really. Whether they were ready to take advantage of that or not is a separate thing, but it’s just … The more you do it, the more you develop a lens for it. There’s companies like you look at Zappos, they were great at finding those moments. There’s a lot of companies that excel at customer service regardless of what the industry would have you believe, there are.

Shama Hyder:

But they were very good at constantly capturing those moments, those little things, and building momentum on it. I would think start creating an eye for that. It does require a little bit of adventure, playfulness to be able to embrace this type of … it’s, again, not exactly marketing, not exactly PR, it’s a very different way to approach business and getting your message out there. I would say, don’t undersell yourself. I think people just don’t realize sometimes, or they’ll be like … I recently heard this story, and I think this is a good point for everybody. The CEO of Girl Scouts of America used to be a rocket scientist.

Shama Hyder:

She said that she felt like that was too long ago to be relevant. I thought, wait a second, I’m glad she’s talking about it now because of course you want someone who’s at the helm of an organization that touches so many girls’ lives and teaches them. Yes, you want them to be a rocket scientist. [crosstalk 00:56:38].

Charlie:

Really?

Shama Hyder:

Yes, so we think it’s also this being able to, and I think sometimes it’s forest from the trees. Right, Charlie? This is why people work with you, this is why people work with me. This is why so many times like we work with other people. I work with you to be able to get that forest from the trees, because you can’t always see it for yourself. Sometimes it takes someone at a distance going, “Dude, that’s cool.” Or, “Wow.” I think just because you can’t see, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Charlie:

Now, if people want to follow you or learn more about you and whatnot, where’s the best place for them to go?

Shama Hyder:

Well, definitely check out zenmedia.com. That’s where we have all our resources. We’ve actually put together a crisis success kit right now, which is daily videos of me talking about things like the moment, how to find it, examples of companies doing it right. So, if you sort of enjoyed this and are curious about getting your business to the next level, then that’s a great place. Of course, connect with me on social media, pick your poison. I’m quite active on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter, I guess, Instagram as well. Not on Snap.

Charlie:

Or TikTok.

Shama Hyder:

Or TikTok.

Charlie:

All right, and that’s Shama Hyder, H-Y-D-E-R. Of course, if you have any questions about growing or scaling your business, even in today’s day and age …

Shama Hyder:

Especially in today’s …

Charlie:

Especially in today’s day and age, you can check us out over at predictableprofits.com. Thank you very much, everybody, for being here, and we’ll see you in another episode of The Beyond 7 Figures Podcast.

Shama Hyder:

Thanks for having me on, Charlie.

Charlie:

Thank you very much.