David interviews Josh about his new book, Bold Brand 2.0

David Lecours interviews Josh Miles, author of Bold Brand 2.0 about the process of writing the second edition of his book.


Mentioned in This Episode 106 Bold Brand 2.0

  • Why publish a new edition vs. new book?

  • What content in the book has been revised?

  • How is professional services marketing different from consumer marketing?

  • How  marketing professional services firms used to be “unprofessional”

  • The Talent War: blending HR with Marketing

  • Is attracting talent and clients mutually exclusive?

  • How Marketing helps with employee retention

  • Going through the process of branding is as valuable as the branding artifacts

  • The book doesn’t prescribing solutions, but more about education

  • Tips and insights to allow firms make their own decisions

  • 4 Types of Rebranding

  • Brand: balance where you are now vs. where you are headed

  • Writing a book requires commitment

  • Outline the book first


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Transcript From This Episode

Announcer: Welcome to PSM. The Professional Services Marketing Podcast it’s inside applied.

Josh Miles: Hello and welcome to PSM show. It’s about professional services marketing we’ll be covering it here. I’m Josh Miles and this is Episode 1 0 6 for Friday December 8th 2017. Although we were actually just in San Diego together last week, we are across the country from one another tonight. David, welcome to PSM.

David Lecours: Great to be here. Josh excited for another show are really making some progress.

Josh Miles: Yeah absolutely.

David Lecours: Of course I want to mention, I’m real proud of our relatively new web site which can be found at So if you’re listening the iTunes or however you get your podcast. Check it out because we’ve got additional links we’ve got show notes. We’ve got some good stuff in there that you’ll benefit from today. We’re going to do something different. We’re going to do a very first interview and I have to admit it’s kind of cheating because I’m going to actually interview Josh about his new book for granted but it’ll be good practice. I have done a ton of interviews on air so this will be a safe environment. Hopefully Josh will be a cooperative guest.

Josh Miles: Not get too combative!

David Lecours: That’s right. But yeah he’s got a new book out it’s called Bold Brand 2.0. : Leverage brand strategy to reposition, differentiate and market your professional services firm.

Announcer: They see PSM insight applied to Josh this is actually the second edition of your book. Tell me why you decide to do a new edition versus not doing a totally new book.

Josh Miles: So the kind of funny thing was I didn’t set out to do a second edition. I actually about a year ago decided I was going to go in the studio since I’d had so much fun with my other podcast obsessed show. And I would just lay down some audio for the audio version of my first book and I was you know a couple of years after I’d been out and I frankly made it about halfway through the book and started realizing oh I need to rewrite that section and come back and record it maybe I should we wrote this chapter a bit of that case study doesn’t make any sense. So we nobody uses flicker anymore for marketing so some of these key studies were getting a little bit old and dusty so I decided Well shoot I need to go back and rewrite the book in a few sections.

Josh Miles: Anyhow just to do the audio so maybe I’ll actually just create version 2.0 the book so the further I get into it the more committed I was so the next stage actually has to go back and do that audiobook now which I haven’t recorded the first minute for yet. But big plans in the new year to have that launch very early in 2018.

David Lecours: So as you’re saying the words you’re realizing that they just didn’t ring true as much as they did in the past and it made sense to update a lot a lot of the intro. Any idea how much percentage wise you updated.

Josh Miles: I think it’s probably somewhere just shy of a third of the book is new so part of that is it’s a little bit longer a book than version one. So unscientifically half of those updates are totally new content and half the updates are just refreshed case studies and in updates to older sections.

David Lecours: Well then it makes sense yeah. It’s not a totally new book.

Josh Miles: It’s revising stuff that you mentioned for the first time around it was it was like a year of writing and editing. And this time around it was more like four or five months of writing editing. So it was you know obviously a lot faster to go into material you’re familiar with as opposed to writing stuff from scratch but made it a lot easier to release the second edition and you know it’s exciting to have it back out there again.

David Lecours: Absolutely. So in the subtitle it talks about how to market your professional services firms. How do you see marketing for professional services firms as different from say is this consumer A.B.C. or even retail marketing.

Josh Miles: So what’s interesting and I’m sure you know this is the in the professional services space. As recently as in the 70s that was really seen as an unethical thing to market your professional services firm and even in the early days and I would say up until the last 10 years especially most firms really saw business development efforts such as you know getting together for a meal or drinks or sponsoring a non-profit or you know taking your prospect out to golf you know was marketing or if you were really forward thinking in the 80s perhaps you had a big yellow pages ad right. Thankfully most firms have moved away from from the latter tactic but there’s still a lot of firms that have that kind of history when it comes to marketing. So just a basic understanding of all the things alaw Inigo Montoya you know they they keep using this word marketing but I’m not sure they know what it means.

Josh Miles: So we had a lot of fun in the book kind of unpacking. You can just kind of the basics of here all the that are part of marketing and you know there are certainly some firms out there who have been killing it for a long time and they get it and they have embraced it. But so many firms come from this heritage of marketings a really weird thing and it’s maybe even a dirty word. So like helping them understand the difference between all the things that marketing can be and how they’ve seen it in the past was kind of a big deal.

David Lecours: Yeah it’s certainly changing the mindset. I think my experience is that there are still those in a leadership position that came from the when as you mentioned even you know some professional organizations you know strictly forbid marketing it was only seen as unseemly and not professional but it was forbidden that it was ever illegal. But it was certainly highly discouraged. Absolutely. So you know similar to your firm. Many of our clients have driven to rebranded or redo their Web site due to a need to attract and retain a talent. I mean I can speak frompersonal experience. We just had a client and the reason they hired us to rebrand was strictly because they wanted to attract and retain talent. So I enjoyed the fact that in your book you have this new chapter about the talent war. Tell me a little bit about you know how that town fits in with branding and marketing professional services aren’t we sort of blending HR with marketing here.

Josh Miles: Yeah absolutely. And I think the interesting thing is how often we’re hearing from firms about we know we need a new Web site and we know our prospects deserve a better experience. But honestly the reason we’re hiring you are the reason that we’re even going out for this Web site or appear this branding RFP is because we need to attract and retain better talent. And you know for me personally sort of even in my young professional years each year was just a word that would make me itch. Is not something I was ever excited about and it was I’ve come to realize you know having now owned a business and you know employed lots of people over the years that it’s the kind of the rules and regulations side of H.R. that was always frustrating or boring or annoying. And it was it was the talent side of H.R. that was really invigorating and it’s really about figuring out what somebody is best at and determining if that’s a match for you or your need for your culture and your team and you know finding the right fit for the right person. I mean that stuff is really exciting especially when it comes to then helping our clients determine those kind of things. I mean so we’re not we’re not literally doing the hiring for our clients but we are helping them better position their firm better tell her story and kind of create the pieces that help them especially on a track to peace. You know it’s harder for us to help on the routine but the track peace is certainly something that we can help them get the word out there. And I thought it was interesting I was doing some research for this chapter in particular and it’s something I’ve been talking a lot about when I’m when I’m doing talks on this chapter is this idea of you know so many firms tell me if you’ve heard this before but they’re they’re just having the hardest time finding people with that you know the five to 15 years of experience for some reason that is just like a missing piece for them. Have you seen that at all?

David Lecours: Yeah no it’s a definite phenomenon and it’s because our eight or nine years ago we had this vague recession and young talent that would now eight or 10 years of experience just chose not to go into. I’m speaking specifically about the architecture engineering construction industry and so there weren’t jobs there when they graduated from college. They didn’t go into the industry. So now there’s a whole demographically in the workforce. So yes firms are struggling to catch up. Sort of phenomenon. I think we have to admit is in this is that the economy is good. Firms are rallying people are moving around a little more freely than they have in the past. So you know there is a little more lubrication in the job market for transferring from one firm to another. So yeah people want to work harder to retain people.

David Lecours: You know one day you said you know like that firms are coming to you to help them recruit and retain. And do you think that you know by having a quality branding with clear messaging. Yes it helps to recruit. But do you think that it also would help to retain existing services like try and sort of those intangibles that somebody would say with a firm because they can point to a website that they’re proud of?

Josh Miles: Yeah I think that’s definitely part of it. And you know especially when you hear the complaints amongst Millennials in particular but also lots of other age groups or that there’s just kind of a lack of communication or sometimes even phrase it as a lack of transparent it’s just that the leadership has a hard time communicating what they think and feel and believe in where they’re going and what their vision looks like and they think those are all things that really come into play when it’s time to kind of put a finer point on what your brand is about. So if you’ve gone through that kind of process chances are that your your Web site maybe has to find better and that your leadership team is on a more similar page. I mean so many firms you walk into and if you ask 10 different people in the leadership team what it is that they do know you’re likely to get 10 very different answers. And that of course is not a great environment to be able to get your young talent on the same page let alone be able to retain them.

David Lecours: Yeah that’s true and something you know there’s almost something about going through that process of branding and sort of getting everybody to agree on a unified message and messaging that is as equally important as the artifacts that come out of it. Of course the logo and the visible part is that there’s something outstanding about you know getting everybody to agree to a process and go through that. So yeah many people in the same firm are saying the same things because clearly communicated. So let’s say hypothetically you know you get hired by a firm and you are you know working with them on a rebranding to recruit and retain exclusive. Or do you think their side benefits are recruiting and retaining clients at the same time.

Josh Miles: Yeah I think it’s you know the new business side depending on who you ask in the firm is often either the first or second priority there. So it’s not that more coming in to solely focus on talent but that attract and retain of the client side it’s certainly either a coequal or a very close second in priority. So think again the better job you do of articulating what your firm is about the easier job you’re going to have. Not only of attracting recruits but also it makes it more clear if you as a client might be a good fit to work with the firm.

David Lecours: Yeah absolutely. So to put this out is our audience. I know your planes are full with marketing but you guys are probably better at marketing for talent than H.R. Is this is something that you want to take on? It certainly is within your wheelhouse. You have the skills. Instead of marking for projects you are marketing for talent. Let us know your thoughts on this particular topic. So here’s a little bit you know one thing for sure is that it’s not a you know does it sort of give somebody step by step how do everything you’ve kind of taken an approach of giving strategies and knowledge and let the user kind of make up their mind to choose what they’re going to do for themselves. Talk a little more about that decision and how it came to be.

Josh Miles: Yeah I guess one of the sections first and foremost that comes to mind. A good friend of mine who’s an intellectual property attorney helped me with some of the content on the IP. I’m going to say law in quotes chapter because we have this big friendly disclaimer at the start of that chapter basically saying this is not law. This is not legal advice. And she helped me but that together. But you know just trying to give an IP example is just a good microcosm of the book is that it tries to walk through all the big picture ideas that maybe you wouldn’t have any reason to know anything about beforehand. And I think most people even myself included before I saw her doing research for the first version of the book like I couldn’t have told you the difference between T.M. and Essem and our ball and you know copyright and all these different marks and when you can claim them in what you have to do to use them and what to look out for and you know to that chapter again it’s just kind of an example where we tried to do with the entire book which is to provide enough navigation that you can start to understand each of these big picture topics whether it’s naming your firm or you know choosing a positioning or you know what makes for a good trademark or you know what with the basics of a modern website might be so kind of walk to everything from positioning through marketing with that really big picture idea. So we’ve got lots of tips along the way of you know when it comes to hiring a copywriter. If you don’t find yourself or fancy yourself as more of an advertising writer with the strength and kind of developing voice that’s a really smart place to hire an external person. But something like a brand Auda is maybe something you might be able to pull off on your own. If you are kind of research minded and feel like you can kind of pull the pieces together and get a good look at what the rest of the market is doing. So there are lots of little tips and insights throughout the book letting you know you know not only the high level info but also maybe seek help on this and here’s somewhere that maybe you could you know if you’re brave you could try to do it yourself like that sort of a T-shirt a fish get them the knowledge about fishing but you’re not going to actually fish for them.

David Lecours: I mean it’s kind of interesting you know if it were sort of a very conservative take a look at everybody that bought the fall. You have a bunch of firms doing the exact same thing. You know so so much of marketing is about differentiation. So I appreciate that. Yeah you’re laying people because marketers are smart right now think they want to be told exactly what they want to do. Seems like you give them options and they can decide.

Josh Miles: Yeah. And really it’s you know one of the sections in the book we talk about what I call the four different types of re brands that there are. The first is you know the just the window dressing where you change the outside but nothing on the inside is really the same. And that’s where I think it feels less than genuine. So you know you didn’t change anything on the inside which you got this fresh new face. The second type is where you know things are really great on the inside and really externally all you’re doing is catching them up so that the market knows us something great. But when you look or read or you know try to learn more about it you just don’t get that same connection. So those are actually some of my favorite ones to work on where the firm is already great. They just don’t have the brand to match the third one being. You’re kind of working on both. So you’re doing maybe some strategic planning or some some realignment and rebranding to match and then the fourth one is the one I just call showing off. So there’s not really any reason why you needed to re brand you were just bored and had some budget to burn. So I think those are the kind of projects that are that are typically dangerous for you. You just end up kind of messing with things when they’re when they were ready to be changed. So you know again was kind of a an interesting finding that we had in the process of writing the book.

David Lecours: Sounds cool. Don’t you think that should be you know the sort of nagging or catching up in terms of sort of positioning themselves and the way they talk about themselves. She can be a little bit ahead of where they are so that sort of becomes aspirational. Do you feel comfortable sharing that sort of stuff.

Josh Miles: Yeah absolutely. And you know I think there’s always this delicate balance especially when we talk about those four different types of re brands. You don’t want it to be so aspirational that that you feel like just say yeah you’re truthful. But I think if all your brand does is just sort of state historically where you’ve been then it’s really not very exciting for the team to rally around. So I think it’s great to have a mix of that postin acknowledgement of where you’ve been and where we are right now. But this is really what our values are about and this is this is where we’re going to go in the future. So it’s it’s we’re you know some firms will develop like a vision statement could go by many different names but I think that’s another place where you can stand to be a little bit more aspirational in how you’re messaging something. So it’s it’s really about where we’re going and not just about where we are if we’re stuck or you know the reality of running a business.

David Lecours: So Josh has done this 2.000 times. What would you recommend to other marketers.

Josh Miles: Well I I think I may have skimmed over to a little bit and I said it took me a year to write it the first time it actually took me about four additional years to that talking about writing. And then when I finally committed and had a publisher you know it was about a year of actually writing the book. So if you’re not committed you will never get the thing done and you really have to just commit to dates. I ended up through the coaching of our editor and the first version writing the table of contents first. You know sort of like an outline and then they had me write you know maybe a paragraph description for each of the chapters. Then they had me build out some additional bullet points for each chapter and then really it was just about adding some meat to that outline and that outline kind of became all of the chapter so it was really interesting writing against an outline in that way.

Josh Miles: And that’s that’s definitely something that I would recommend have somebody who’s either an editor or publisher to kind of help hold your firm accountable to hitting your dates and also that way doesn’t like overtake everything that you do for five years.

David Lecours: I have to admit that question was kind of a teaser because we had the worst couple of interviews coming up with the publisher and also we will probably do a topic on sort of the marketing and how you can leverage it to position yourself as a leader and it will probably also do another topic. It’s claim that Josh was alluding to there is just the process. How do you get who you want your team to hire ghostwriters you are a copy editor. But all that stuff. So I’m putting sure your listeners for future episodes because the books are for people definitely still reading and it’s a great tool to position yourself as somebody who knows what they’re doing. And thankfully we have Josh with us today because he knows what he’s doing. That’s your fault. Any questions I didn’t ask you about the book. Anything you’ve been dying to answer?

Josh Miles: No I think it was again it was a really great process and it’s one of those things probably like when you get off of a roller coaster you’re like are going to do that again and then you know that your next trip to the amusement park you’re like I don’t know if I’m going to do it or this time. It was great. Not going out the second one and hopefully that bad audio book is definitely right behind it.

David Lecours: Cool. So, it somebody wants to learn more about the book or should they go?

Josh Miles: Well that’s a nice softball question David there will come to a head over to bold brand dotcom where they can read a little bit more about the book and certainly they’re interested in having me come speak to their group bird chapter business available for that too. And then of course there are links there to buy both the Kindle and the print editions from

David Lecours: And someday soon the audio version, you heard it from Josh. and some from Josh shearings in that audience we want to hear from you. You know have you produced one right to. Give us a great question and we’ll mention your name in the next episode. We recently received advice from Barb and we got another name from Eric asking us the differences between marketing and business development and to explore our B2B versus B2C so stating that for future sode as we explore these topics and as always goes to show you just scroll down and ask the best way to contact us.

Josh Miles: All right. That almost brings us to the end of episode number 106 of PSM show. If you’re listening to the PSM show website went pop over to iTunes Stitcher or your favorite podcast player and subscribe for your regular dose of professional services marketing goodness. Search for PSM professional services marketing and hit that big subscribe button. If you have any questions comments or suggestions for future shows guests, please write us a note over at Next week we’re excited to jump into our thoughts on Video. So that’s all for this episode of PSM show from David Lecours and myself Josh Miles. Bye for now.

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