Avoiding Brand Distraction with Mitch Joel

mitch joel on brand

“Brands are being distracted by drones, 3D printing, and big data.” This keeps us from focusing on what we should be focusing on. Larger trends in consumer behavior pose even bigger shifts in how we build brands online and off. I couldn’t wait to sit down and chat with digital strategist, agency leader, and podcast extraordinaire Mitch Joel of Twist Image.

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About Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image – one of the largest independent Digital Marketing agencies in North America. Marketing Magazine dubbed him the “Rock Star of Digital Marketing” and called him, “one of North America’s leading digital visionaries.” Mitch is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Marketing Association and a former Board Member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada.

Mitch speaks frequently to diverse groups like Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Unilever and has shared the stage with former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Malcolm Gladwell, Anthony Robbins, Tom Peters, and Dr. Phil.

Mitch is a regular columnist for the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, and other magazines and newspapers. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his successful blog and podcast is a business and marketing bestseller. His latest book, CTRL ALT Delete, was released in May 2013.

Episode Highlights

Mitch isn’t just a digital marketing rock star. He has a legit rock-and-roll past. Mitch got his start doing interviews for music magazines, eventually creating his own along with one of the first online music magazines. He also had his own label around the time he and his partners started Twist Image. One thing led to another and the rest is history.

His passion for music and podcasting continues to grow. Recently, Mitch combined his long-standing love of music with his podcasting skills to create a new show. Groove – the No Treble podcast, takes the successful elements of his Six Pixels of Separation podcast and uses them to interview bass players. His first guest was Robert Trujillo of Metallica.

Speaking of those signature podcasting elements … Who is Mitch and what does he do? I got the opportunity to flip the mic around on Mitch and ask him his two signature opening questions — who are you and what do you do? His answer? He is, of course, the President of Twist Image. However, he also describes himself as “a connector of ideas and things.”

When podcasts collide. Mitch was one of the first digital marketing podcasts that I found. One of my favorite non-marketing podcasts is Marc Maron’s WTF. Last year Mitch had the opportunity to have Marc on his podcast. Listen now.

And then I called Mitch a ‘futurist’ … “I’m actually a present-ist. Marketers are distracted by drones, 3D printing, and big data.” Consumers aren’t. Instead they are buying fewer things. For example, in the music industry, CD sales plummeted as people began downloading more. Now those downloads are plummeting as people shift to streaming. When you combine this shift with the move toward what Joel calls “crowd companies” like Uber and Airbnb and you start to see a major shift in consumer behavior taking place.

What can marketers do about this? For starters, don’t turn your back on the 4 Ps of marketing just yet. Product, price, place, and promotion are very relevant when viewed in the context of the shifts Joel describes. In the end, you have to more than just advertise.

Beware of the agency who says they can do everything. “If I blew out my knee I’d go to a specialist.”

What brand makes Mitch smile? Field Notes. “They’re a great indie brand.” They are also masters of creating a useful product with a great story. Plus, like Marc Maron, Moleskines stress Mitch and I out. For the full story on our Moleskine angst, listen to Maron’s hilarious routine starting at 4:08 into this video. (Oh – totally NSFW.)

To learn more about Mitch Joel, head over to the Six Pixels of Separation podcast and blog. He’s also ‘mitchjoel’ on most social networks (like Twitter).

A Few Final Reminders

A big thanks to a mentor of this podcast with a new resource that you should know more about. Jay Baer of Convince and Convert has done it again. In addition to being a digital marketing thought leader, speaker, and best-selling author he’s now created a new online resource indexing all of the great marketing podcasts out there — it’s called Marketing Podcasts and you can find it at MarketingPodcasts.com. If you like marketing and podcasts you need to check this out.

Last but not least …

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!