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About This Episode
Does your marketing department celebrate receiving hate mail?
Uh… why not?
“I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all recipe because I’ve headed marketing at 5 different companies,” Udi said.
Although receiving hate mail does make him and his team happy.
Instead, Udi walked me through the guiding principles that all successful brands use and adapt individually.
3 principles of brand building
“The first thing is to have really top-notch content that is exclusive to your brand that people cannot consume elsewhere,” Udi said.
95% of the brands get it wrong by providing lists of 7 tips that you could have Googled yourself.
Exclusive content means recognizing what you have that no one else does.
In Gong’s case, it was the biggest database of recorded sales calls in the world, something like 20 million calls.
“If we consistently analyze that, we can put out beautiful stories, which are all backed by data showing what works and what doesn’t work in sales,” Udi said.
“If you don’t have a personality guide to your brand, and you’ve got a team of half a dozen people uploading content, then you’re getting this Frankenstein of a content machine that has no consistent tone of voice,” Udi said.
Lack of voice equals boring content.
Now, there are just about as many brand personalities as there are human personalities.
The approach that Gong has taken is a combination of being authoritative on their domain of expertise while being whimsical about mostly everything else.
“When you read our content, when you hear one of our amazing speakers at a conference, when you look at our website, when you go to our LinkedIn content, you see that whimsy coming through everything we do,” Udi said.
Udi defined edginess as taking a stand about something. A sign that you’re doing this right is that you get emotional responses from audiences (whether positive or negative).
“If you’re pleasing everybody, you’re not exciting anybody,” Udi said. “You have to be polarizing. Take a stand. Make your opinion heard.”
Udi applauded brands that take political, cultural, and moral stands for understanding edginess.
Your hate mail becomes a pulse check to see whether you’re triggering emotional responses in people. “If everyone just agreed with it, then we didn’t spark a conversation,” Udi said.
Tips for content creation
Keeping your brand personality consistent throughout the sales process and across multiple channels is particularly challenging at scale.
“Great content is going to be the backbone of how we build our marketing and brand,” Udi said.
Udi often surprises people with the size of Gong’s content team: “I’ve got two people creating content, and up until three months ago, I had one person for the last three and a half years.”
- Control your content. If you outsource all of your content, you’re going to get bland or inconsistent posts. Gong produces almost all of their content in-house with just a couple of content writers.
- Take a stand. This concept relates to being edgy… you have to be passionate about what you’re writing.
- Plan your theme. Udi and his content writer planned an entire blog series together (Gong Labs) down to the smallest details. Everything would be consistent and unified.
- Make your best stuff free. Gong’s best content is published in the public domain. They don’t gate it. Instead, once someone has already enjoyed the value of the content, Gong asks for their contact information for a demo or another premium piece of content.
“We always give our best stuff for free because we believe in giving before asking anything,” Udi said.
Here’s a great example of polarizing, themed content Udi shared for free: How to correctly curse during sales conversations.
“We found that if you use cursing in a certain way that mirrors how your prospect or customer on the line is also occasionally cursing, you can increase your win rates by up to 9% just by doing that in the right context — and people just went ballistic,” Udi said.
That post received so much attention and generated so many conversations (and arguments).
Where do you get your ideas?
Every successful writer has been asked some iteration of that question before. Well, I asked Udi.
“Great ideas can really come from anywhere,” he said.
And they should come from everywhere, not just marketing.
He explained that creating a great brand means empowering individual reps to build their own brand, too. “You have to make marketing the company’s job. It’s not just the two folks in marketing who are responsible for marketing. Everyone is responsible for marketing.”
Gong encourages and solicits ideas from the entire team. “We have an open marketing channel where folks submit ideas,” Udi explained — something they thought of, something their customers mentioned, or something they learned about on social.
Udi specifically mentioned Sarah Brazier as the epitome of a team member creating an independent persona on LinkedIn. “You need to empower the entire team and get them excited about what marketing can do for the organization, how they can help, and how they’re actually helping themselves,” he said.
At the end of the day, your ideas should stay focused on two objectives:
- Educating people.
- Entertaining people.
“I’m baffled by how many brands get this wrong. People buy from people. They don’t buy from companies,” Udi said.
Connect with Udi on LinkedIn for edgy content.