Brand Experience with Deirdre Martin – E103

Episode released on: 05. December 2022

Brand Experience with Deirdre Martin Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Deirdre Martin

LinkedIn Headline: Website & Marketing Strategies that actually work | Clarify your brand’s message | StoryBrand Certified Guide | Customer Experience Coach/Trainer | EQ Certified | Sales & Performance Coach| Best-Selling Author


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 00:33 Deirdre’s introduction
  • 01:21 Deirdre’s values
  • 03:04 Banding definition
  • 07:13 Why is branding so important?
  • 12:24 Preferred examples
  • 19:24 Where to start
  • 21:34 what was the impact of COVID-19 to branding?
  • 24:04 which are the biggest mistakes that companies are doing in relation to branding
  • 26:23 In 10 years time from now, what we’re discussing about in relation to customer experience
  • 28:52 Deirdre’s book suggestion
  • 30:39 Deirdre’s contact details
  • 31:01 Deirdre’s golden nugget

and much more

Deirdre’s Contact Details:

Her book suggestion:

  • Fusion by Denise Lee
  • Branding Gap by Marty Neumeier
  • Zag by Marty Neumeier
  • Onward by Howard Schultz

Deirdre’s Golden Nuggets:

  • I think in terms of brand, you know, think about it as like a guiding star for your business. Something that it’s like the North Star,
  • It should be something that guides you along your journey to achieve your business goals, whilst also differentiating you from your competitors, and making you the thought leader in your industry, not just your website. It’s not just your logo. It’s a feeling. It’s a culture. It’s an experience.

“Brand is like a guiding star for your business (…) it’s not just your website. It’s not just your logo. It’s a feeling. It’s a culture. It’s an experience.” Deirdre Martin on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

Gregorio Uglioni
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast your host, Greg will have smart discussions with friends, experts and thought leaders on customer experience transformation, and leadership. Please follow this podcast on your preferred platform. I am sure you will enjoy the next episode with the guest I selected for you.

Today. It’s really, really a pleasure because I have Deirdre Martin together with me. Hi, Deirdre. How are you?

Deirdre Martin
Hi, Greg, thanks so much for having me.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you. It’s really a great pleasure from my side, because we are going to discuss about branding. But before we deep dive in the topic that you wrote a lot and you’re spread passionate about it, then we would like to learn a bit more about you. And therefore could you please introduce yourself?

Deirdre Martin
Sure. Well, my name is Deirdre Martin I’m based in Kilkenny in Ireland. I’m a wife, a mom of two and two teenage girls. So things are a bit crazy. My house I have three dogs soon to be four. I have two sitting on the floor here with me right now. So there could be barking, there could be yawning, who knows. And I’m an ex bank villain turned guide. So I’ve explained what I mean by that in a few minutes. Greg,

Gregorio Uglioni
thank you very much for your short introduction. And I think I will find out also some questions for your dogs, therefore they feel involved and engaged in this discussion. And I’m sure that will be quiet. I think we would like also to learn a bit more about you. And therefore I always ask also this question, which values drive you life?

Deirdre Martin
You know, that’s a great question, actually. Because it leads really nicely into what we’re going to talk about today in terms of branding, because values, our personal values often feed into our business values and our career values and whatnot. So that’s a great question. But for me, it’s very much around family, Greg, and, and it’s about helping others succeed by being of service and sharing knowledge. Those are things that are really important to me. And recently, I was doing a bit of reflecting myself in terms of my values for business and how I want to succeed. And part of that was looking at how I how I live and breathe those values that I’ve just mentioned. But doing that with flexibility is an abundance. And I think, you know, living and breathing those values personally, and they’re what drives me in life. It’s also clear, I feel, and I think my clients would say the same that those are evident throughout their experiences with me. And so again, I know we’re going to talk about branding, which I’m really excited about today. But also because, as I said, those personal values that we have can equally drive your business, not just your life.

Gregorio Uglioni
I think what you’re saying totally makes sense, because it’s not only human beings that need to have values, but also Corporation companies. And therefore today, it’s really important to discuss about branding and learn a bit more about branding, together with you a big expert in this topic with a great passion about this topic. And therefore really, let’s kick off the discussion. What’s your definition of branding?

Deirdre Martin
Okay, so I suppose first and foremost, branding is, it’s like a strategy that you can use in your business to help you achieve your business goals. But branding is a culture. It’s how employees experience things in the business behind the scenes. It’s also the feelings and experiences that customers have on the front end when they engage with your business and your brand. And sometimes those feelings internally or externally, customers or employees alike. They’re intentional. Sometimes they happen intentionally. But other times they happen on intentionally. And branding is about being able to create that intentional experience. Because what can happen with a brand is that an often this happens with new businesses starting out is that the director or founder the business is really passionate about what they do. They’re really focused on their customer and getting amazing results for their clients. As their business grows, that gets diluted somewhat, because they’re not always great at articulating those values, the things that are important to them the experiences they want people to have when they engage with the business. And so that doesn’t always grow that that experience and feeling that that founder has doesn’t always grow with the brand. And so, branding is quite broad, you know, you can position your brand as well so that maybe it’s a luxurious brand, or it’s the cheapest brand in your sector industry, it can be the brand that provides the best quality or, you know, maybe it’s the brand, that’s where you experience the fastest service or turnaround time. So, positioning comes into branding. And again, that can be a strategy that you use to help achieve your business goals. But it’s also about the style and the style of your brand. And a lot of people make that mistake. And I suppose I’m gonna demystify that right here, right now, Greg, and say that your brand is not just about the colors that you use on your website, or social media, it’s not just about your logo, the style that helps you portray your brand’s identity, it helps portray your personality, and even the colors that you choose for your website and logo have a deeper meaning. Because if you think about what your customers really want, in terms of the emotions that you want them to experience, if you’re being intentional about it, well, then maybe particular colors are not the right colors to incorporate into your style. So it’s about strategically deciding what your style is going to be to portray your brand identity of personality. And then I suppose finally, to summarize this, because it’s a lot, right branding is huge. It’s also the story. So a lot of people think that marketing is the story. And marketing is the view code that you use to share your story with the world. But your brand has a story itself. And that story is how how you position your brand in terms of the message you’re going to share. So really, then it’s the message being portrayed about your brand that your marketing department or team or yourself if it’s your own business shares about your business. Does that make sense? Greg?

Gregorio Uglioni
I love it. I love it. It’s really incredible. And I think if we if we would be on a LinkedIn life or something like that, we would have a lot of tweetable moments. When you said for example, brand is capture everything what you said about being intentional. And I think this is really key because that is sharing what you are and you did some example being the fastest company and service, you can quite quickly link that with one one brand or the highest quality you say, okay is quality this could be this brand or and that when and I think this this really make it tangible and understandable, are big topics are complicated it is but also that it’s not possible to cop it overnight, like a product or something like that. It’s something that you need to create. And to conclude, my comment is I need you to laugh because I have red and black. And this is also intentional, because these are the colors of my preferred football team. And therefore when I’m watching it myself, I say oh, that’s and it drives good emotion in myself. I know it’s, it sounds stupid, but if the reality, it drives positive emotion, and therefore, I’m passionate about what I’m doing, because it’s helping me and support me remembering you are doing that. Why? And I love it. And exactly with this, why to make it really tangible for all the audience listening to this podcast and what what you’re sharing, why is branding so important?

Deirdre Martin
It’s exactly like you just described right? In terms of those colors and your goalkeeper background. I mean, that is synonymous with your brand. When I see something on social media, you know, if I’m scrolling on LinkedIn, and I see a goal of pitch in the background, I know instantly that Greg, it makes you unique. It’s easily recognizable, and it’s memorable. And that’s what you want people to experience when they engage with you. So if you think about it, like typically, it takes people five to six times before they start to remember you. So that comes back to your style and story how you’re going to show up when you show up, but also in terms of that recognition. And that’s, that’s in terms of marketing and visibility. But equally as important is the reputational aspect of your brand, because Martin Neumayer, who is like the grandfather of branding, and I mean, I could talk about him all the time, and I recommend a few of his books later on. But one of the things in terms of of branding that he says is it’s not what we say it is it’s what they say it is and that’s where you know earlier on a few minutes ago, I referred to creating things intentionally and it’s the same with you know, whether it’s a customer Ernie are a customer experience that you create in your in your business, some people will go and they will create that intentionally. But you need to understand that when you create that journey, what what way people experience that? Because it’s more than a process from a brand, it’s an experience from a customer. And then they go off, and they’re gonna talk to their friends and their family about it. But what are they actually saying to those people, because what they’ll tell those people may be different to what they tell you. And so it’s about really gathering those insights so that you can build the reputation intentionally that you want to have. But branding also has a value, Greg, and I think a lot of people underestimate that. What I mean by the value is that if you look at a balance sheet, and I’m an ex banker, and that’s why I mean, you know, often I was the villain in the story, right? I’m an ex banker, and part of my job was lending millions of euro to different companies, for whatever reason, it might be typically it was to help them grow. And essentially, you know, when you would look at a balance sheet and a set of accounts, there are a brand is an intangible asset. So what do I mean by that? It’s the reputational part that goes with a brand, you just need to think about Starbucks or McDonald’s, for example, the minutes that a Starbucks are a McDonald’s is about to be opened or launched in an area, people instantly know what to expect. They know what the service is going to be like. And it’s all, you know, the experience and expectations are already set. And because of that, because of the prior reputation, what will happen is that it will pretty much automatically, you know, attract customers. And because of that, that has a value. And that’s why those brands are successful. It’s because the experience is the same no matter where in the world. You go for Starbucks for McDonald’s, Zara, IKEA, you name it, there are multiple brands who are like that. So yeah, branding is not to be underestimated. And it definitely has a value that people often forget about.

Gregorio Uglioni
I think what you’re saying it totally makes sense. And also basically why I have my cap on because I was on the last conference, customer experience conference. And at the end, everybody’s a bit different. But everybody looks like similar. And then people came to me and said, You are the CX goalkeeper, and I said yes. And they said, Oh, we saw your cap. And therefore it’s a different way to differentiate myself from the others. Because I could be happily share, again, all the stories about Ritz Carlton, Disney, and all these great example that we have in customer experience. And these are really great companies. But it’s one more of the same. And therefore I tried this way to differentiate myself as a small example. And what you’re saying it totally makes sense. You already started mentioning some examples. What are your preferred example that you often share with your with your customers?

Deirdre Martin
Oh, my gosh, well, there’s two that I always talk about. And that those are Starbucks and IKEA, I always talk about Starbucks, because they personalize your experience every single time you go in. And again, it might feel like you know, they’re a big chain. And you know, it’s not personalized at all. But in fact, they asked you for your coffee order, and they asked you for your name. They call your name when your order is ready. And they’ve written your name on their cup when you collect your order. So three times and less than maybe five minutes in a location where you know, nobody, they have used your name. So they’ve personalized experience. They do it really well. And Starbucks, Howard Schultz, he really influenced my mindset in terms of customer experience, business growth, and all sorts of things. And one of the things he talks about, you know, is hiring people who are better than you before you’re ready. And learning from those people. You need to hire people to take your business to where you want to get to because they’ve been there and done that already. So there’s a lot of things like that, that he does, that he did do when he was in charge of Starbucks. So I have great admiration for him and Starbucks. And IKEA is another one because one of the things that I’m always talking about in branding is that a lot of businesses, particularly service based businesses, because that’s typically who I work with. They find it difficult to portray what a vision of success looks like for a client and because a lot of people they need to know what is the end result going to be if I work with you. I can’t do that so well because if you think about it really, but they have reflect packed furniture in boxes that they could just have in a warehouse with a label on it. But instead, what they do is they create an experience for people so that you walk through at your leisure, you know, various rooms that display this ultimate vision of success. It’s like, this is what you could do, you have this piece of furniture in your home, you know, this is how it might feel if you have the lighting like this. And so they’re really good at portraying that vision of success. But just to touch back on what you spoke about a moment ago with your cap and being recognizable at a conference, what’s interesting about brands as well in terms of being recognizable is that personally, if you’re a personal brand, you too can be recognized, but just like you mentioned, and a way to discover how to be recognized baller, or you know, to kind of find a persona for your brand to fit in with is to look at something like a brand archetype. So for example, I mentioned one of the things that I value is sharing knowledge and information with people. And so my archetype actually is sage, my brand archetype is that of a sage, and other big organizations or like Harvard Business Review, their their sage, Forbes or sage, you know, there’s big brands like that. But equally, people can have a brand archetype. And so Oprah Winfrey and David Attenborough are two that I like, right for my brand. And the reason being is how they portray themselves how they ask questions, so that they can learn and then share information in a particular way. But equally, David Attenborough, he’s open to adventure and explore things. And then he just so succinctly explains how things work. And so those are using the archetype framework for your brand can be very helpful for a business, or an individual to be able to decide, okay, well, this is maybe how we need to show up so we can extract elements of what they do, and model them in our own unique way. But it can help kind of, if you like, set a path, or maybe like a play, if it was on the pitch, Greg, you know, a play format, nearly in terms of what to do with the brand, or how to show up if people are unsure. So there’s, there’s quizzes, you can search on Google brand archetype quiz, take a quiz. And that will help you decide that and, and why I refer to that is because a brand in the business is like a brand and a person. And we all have our own individual brands. And the brand archetype concept is based on young, and Freud, actually, but Freud doesn’t get much of a look. And in the same way that we as individuals have personalities, so do brands. So I mean, there are brands that I regularly talk about, like Starbucks, and IKEA, but each brand business, just like every individual is unique. And one of the things that Martin Neumayer always talks about, and I really love this, and I was only just sharing this with somebody yesterday, actually, who was worried that somebody else might come out with their idea before they would, is to just say to yourself, you know, only I do this, only I do that, and only I do this other thing, right? So no other brand is gonna match you exactly. And if you think about Pepsi, and Coca Cola, for example, you know, they’re very different in lots of different ways. So Coca Cola can say only I have a recipe that is locked in a safe that nobody can access that we have, you know, there’s no patents, trademarks, and all those things. Only I have this red and white, a unique logo that we haven’t changed in 50 years or longer, and only I whatever. And those are the things that make a brand, recognizable, memorable and valuable. So yeah, …

Gregorio Uglioni
it’s really great. And I think what you’re sharing, these are a great example of individual branding and also corporate branding. But let’s say you made it’s quite easy because these are worldwide known brands, and therefore it’s quite easy that they worked throughout their journey, creating this brand. But let’s say a company that is not aware that branding is so important, where should they start or wait? Where can they start? For sure, after contacting you because you will help them but where should they start?

Deirdre Martin
Hey, always comes back to costumers for me, Greg, that’s the first thing I get people to do. when they when I engage with a customer first and we start to work on their brand, I give them market research questions to go and gather qualitative insights from their customers, so that they are really understanding every exactly where their customers are at right now. And, you know, over the last number of years, things have changed drastically for people. And what’s interesting is that a lot of people gather market insights after clients leave. But you know, it’s something that I recommend doing regularly throughout a customer lifecycle. So we should be speaking to people who are not customers yet. And gathering insights from them, we should be speaking to customers who are have just started a journey with this. And then we should be speaking to customers who have left us as well. So there’s three different stages of insights to gather. And I think once you have that information and understand, you know, what’s keeping people up at night, what do they need to solve their problem, and sometimes what they need, and what they want are two very different things. So it’s about understanding those things. And then looking at your brand in terms of okay, well, what do we need to do to position ourselves so that customers come for what they want, because we can sell them what they want. And then we can also give them what they need. And so that could be a way even to upsell and grow your business.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. It’s really great and outstanding, perhaps, also, what you are sharing is something that changed throughout the lifecycle of a company, how they are developing themselves. What’s what was the impact of COVID-19 to branding?

Deirdre Martin
Yeah, I mean, gosh, it was huge vastness, I mean, you just need to look at some of the big brands have already mentioned, like Starbucks, or McDonald’s, you know, they had to change everything in terms of the journeys that they created, because there were new things introduced like sanitizing our masks, and then other locations had to physically close. But there’s also the impact of brands where there were service based, and then they had remote workers, and that impacted delivery of service. So I think that has been huge. From a from a people perspective, I think that’s where the biggest shift has been Greg, and managing both customers and employees to be to support them in the way that they need. That has been where the biggest change has come. Because I think, you know, a lot of employees as well got to the stage where they wanted to work from home, they were reluctant to come into the office, you know, and that has had an impact on service. But equally, there have been huge challenges, not just from COVID, but in terms of resourcing and almost every industry and sector that I’ve been speaking to. And so service is really, really changed there. So that’s the first thing. The second thing, I think that that’s evolved hugely is an omni channel approach, where a lot of brands were maybe, you know, specifically just in person and didn’t have an online service, or vice versa. And I think that’s changed and evolved quite a lot. And I think that’s good, because people like to have those options. But I suppose the the challenge with that omni channel service, is that the experience needs to be similar from both from both in person and online. So that’s the second thing. And I think, probably the third thing, what was I gonna say about the third thing, I’ve lost my train of thought and the third thing now, so the employees, the omni channel approach? Yeah, I don’t know, the third things gone, Greg.

Gregorio Uglioni
I will leave it to the audience to add their thoughts and their ideas on branding. But basically, you are really an expert in this topic. And we see and we feel the passion that that you have, from your point of view, which are the biggest mistakes that companies are doing in relation to branding.

Deirdre Martin
To know us, oh, my God, that’s that’s a tough one, Greg, because it’s it’s different. I think. One of the major ones that I see like a lot of my clients are three to five years in business. Those are the type of people that I often work with. Some people I’ve worked with have been 30 years in business. One of the main things that they do is that they create a brand when they start their business and they don’t look at it again. Are they believe that their brand is their website and their logo, and that’s it. And so often then, as I say What happens is a company director or founder who starts their business and doesn’t take the time to truly create a personality and identity and a strategy for their brand, that can impact the growth of their business as their team expands, because that message gets diluted, and what a few of the other things are. Let’s imagine for a moment that somebody has started their business, and they’re recruiting people, if they’re not clear themselves on what their brand’s values are, on what their mission purpose vision are, that can impact the business down the road in terms of not hiring the right person in the first place. So when you’re clear on your brand strategy, in that sense, you can incorporate that into your recruitment questions when you’re engaging people. Similarly, in terms of the insights, gathering insights should be a continuous thing. It shouldn’t be just something you do, if you have an idea about starting a business insights are invaluable, acting on them, is even more valuable. So those are probably the things that I would say, are the biggest mistakes companies are making.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And you earlier said that, it always starts with the customer when you’re defining your brand strategy. And therefore now thinking about the customer, we close our eyes, it’s in 10 years time what we’re discussing about in relation to customer experience.

Deirdre Martin
I think it’s interesting, I think we’ll be talking about Metaverse and the people engaging in Sims in terms of experience, and you know, this new Amazon show called peripheral. I think that’s going to be I think that that potentially could be the future, I think, you know, there may not be physical office spaces, I think people could end up working from home virtually potentially engaging as the same, which, you know, that might sound crazy, but you heard it here. First, some of the craziest ideas are the ones that comes to life. I do think that one of the biggest shifts as well, that’s come from COVID Is that sense of community and having a small number of people that you know, we really trust, and that we like to spend our time with. I think that’s not going to change maybe in the next number of years. But by 10 years time, maybe that will have evolved, again, back to the way it was pre COVID. Or perhaps it could go the other way. But I definitely see something happening there. And that sense where people really want to do business with people that they trust. And so that’s right now, and that’s because of COVID. It’s somebody that they really believe and I think you know, a lot of the changes well, in terms of customer experience, Greg that I see, and that I would love to see happening is that people are given the soft skills to be able to engage with people a lot better, because in my experience when because I’ve come from a corporate background, and in my experience, you get training in the technical skills, you don’t always get training in the soft skills and some behaviors are expected without ever, people receiving the support to be able to implement that behavior. And that could be something as simple as saying, Please, and thank you. It’s expected that people know how to say those things. But actually, they’re never asked to say them are invited to say them are taught when it’s appropriate to say them. And so for me, that’s something that I think customer experience in 10 years from now, not even just 10 years from now, today would benefit from

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And I think exactly what you’re saying, We’re in relation to saying thank you. It’s I’m doing that at home, I am trying to teach that to my son, and therefore why not doing that in business. I think that’s that’s the key. And thank you is not so expensive, but it can have a great positive impact towards the to other people. Thank you very much. And we are coming in the last three minutes of this game and therefore the last three questions. The first one, is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience that helped you during your career or during your life?

Deirdre Martin
Yeah, definitely. I think there’s a few actually, Denise Lee has been a huge influencer to me in terms of branding. So I think she’s got a book called Fusion which talks about culture. And she’s got another book that I can’t think of the name of right now. Oh, what great brands do that’s what it’s called. That’s definitely worth a read both of those to another one then Marty Neumeier, who I mentioned is like the grandfather of branding. He has two books. One called the brand gap, and another called zag, I would highly recommend those. And if you haven’t read the books that Howard Schultz wrote about Starbucks and his experience as a CEO, there, they are well worth a read. Yeah, I can’t think of the names of those now. But definitely just check out Howard Schultz and Starbucks. He’s great. And they’re, they make for really good reading. They’re very inspirational. And it’s, you know, it’s a real life story of transformation from how one guy who knew nothing about coffee went on to build one of the biggest companies in the world. It’s incredible.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And I think this could be also the list of suggestions for the Christmas vacation, the books to read during Christmas vacation. What’s the best way to contact you?

Deirdre Martin
Thanks, Greg. People can find me on LinkedIn, on under Deirdre Martin customer experience or also on my website deirdremartin

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And the last question is the golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new that you would leave to the audience.

Deirdre Martin
I think in terms of brand, you know, think about it as like a guiding star for your business. Something that it’s like the North Star, it should be something that guides you along your journey to achieve your business goals, whilst also differentiating you from your competitors, and making you the thought leader in your industry, not just your website. It’s not just your logo. It’s a feeling. It’s a culture. It’s an experience.

Gregorio Uglioni
The last thing that I can say is thank you very much for your time. It was a great pleasure to discuss together with you. And please stay with me; To the audience it was really a great pleasure to have this chat. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you have any question. We love feedback feel free to contact us and Dreide shared our contact details. You can contact me and I will forward everything, any question that you have. Thank you very much, and bye bye.

Deirdre Martin
Thanks, Greg.

Gregorio Uglioni
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you

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