Episode 60: Reframe and Remaster Your Messaging To Thrive with Douglas Spencer of Spencer Brenneman

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your Messaging


What message are you trying to share with your stakeholders?

On this week’s Relish This, I chatted with Spencer Brennan, the founder, and CEO of Boston agency Douglas Spencer. He and I met on an online group called Nonprofit.ist that enables those working in the nonprofit sector to connect with other nonprofit and purpose-focused experts.

Spencer helps mission-driven clients reframe their focus and remaster their messaging so they can thrive in any environment.

As you might imagine, he knows all the ins and outs of messaging—and we had an amazing talk about the complexity of crafting messaging that works. We also talked about the challenges most of us face when trying to get our message across to the masses.

There’s a lot to get out of this conversation. Hope you enjoy it!


Spencer Brenneman



Pause and think about one thing about your work and what you know that others might not understand. Then take that thing and share it!

Listen to the podcast here:

Reframe and Remaster Your Messaging To Thrive with Douglas Spencer of Spencer Brenneman

Our guest is Douglas Spencer. He is the Founder of Spencer Brenneman, which is a cool content shop out of Boston. What they do is they work with purpose-driven companies and nonprofits. They help them remember their message so that they can thrive in any environment. He has a great methodology for this. He and I met during an online networking opportunity called Nonprofit.ist. We had a fun conversation. All of our conversations have been around content, how to leverage it, ways to get that message out there and be consistent. This is a great episode for any organization. You can get a lot out of this discussion that we had. Douglas is a great guy. I hope you enjoy the show. Here we go.

Douglas, how are you?

Stu, I’m great. How are you?

I’m doing well. What is going on in Boston?

We have had a very rainy summer and we are about ready to get bombarded with some intense heat. We are having a good old summertime.

That sounds fairly normal for Boston. We have had a fairly wet summer thus far up here in Colorado as well, which I’m grateful for that. We are starting to get a lot of smoke from the Dixie Fire out in California. I’m sad for all those people, animals, and forest lands that are getting hammered out there. I’m happy that it’s not close to home just yet, so far in 2021. We have knocked on wood.

It’s hard to complain about the weather when you see what is happening around the world in Greece, the Dixie Fires, and all sorts of places. It’s hard to complain about a few days of steady rain.

I don’t know if you have ever been to Colorado but it is amazing how quickly Coloradans will turn on the weather when it’s not perfect. People will suffer through a day and a half of rain and then they start complaining. It’s like, “Come on, guys. We need the moisture. Let’s not complain.” This is going to be a little bit of an interesting show because we are both going to interview each other for our perspective shows. Both shows will be the same. What is the name of your podcast?

My podcast is Messaging on a Mission. Stu, thanks for having me on yours, and thanks for being a guest on mine all at the same time.

People focus so much on the day-to-day that they lose track of the big picture.

It’s my pleasure. I get to guest every once in a while. It’s so much fun to be on the other side of the equation from time to time. It will be fun to see how we can tackle that together.

For all the readers, we are operating without a net. We are winging this and let’s hope it’s entertaining.

If our first conversation together holds true, I was entertained at least. I had a good time talking with you. I’m sure that we will dig out some fun marketing and purpose-driven stuff for people. You are one of the Cofounders of Spencer Brenneman. Is that accurate?

No, I am the only Founder. Spencer is my surname but because it’s rather generic, I added my mother’s maiden name, which is Brenneman. My business is called Spencer Brenneman. We help mission-driven organizations take a step back and rethink their focus. Also, they can find exactly the right messaging framework through, which they can connect with everybody that is important to their success, from their employees to the people they help, to their donor base, to any regulatory authority that they have to work with. Anybody that is instrumental in making them successful, we help them find the right message to bring their mission home.

We look at that whole ecosystem in terms of all of the different places in an organization or business, whether that’s a nonprofit business or a for-profit business. All of those touchpoints and places that one can have an influence in the world is broad. You can talk to vendors about being purpose-driven. Your employees and your internal culture are a big component of that, even the people you choose to work with or other business owners. By taking that approach to business, there are a lot of opportunities to change the world.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

I’m one of the Cofounders of Relish Studio. It’s a digital marketing agency here in the Boulder Colorado area. We like to say we help good people do great things. We look for businesses, both in the foreign and nonprofit space, who are seeking to expand their mission to help, thrive, get found online, and build relationships through digital marketing. We have been around since about 2008 and are going strong. It’s funny. We tend to blow past these milestones in our history. We will be thirteen years old in September 2021. It’s a lot of fun.

You started it not the best time to start a business if I can remember 2008 correctly.

We have seen cycles in our business and it feels like election years are always challenging. We went ahead and launched during an election year. I don’t know that we thought things through very much. We took that run-before-you-walk approach, which I know a lot of entrepreneurs do. It’s not what I recommend for our clients here at Relish. We winged it like what we are doing here with the show but it has worked out so far.

Starting with a strategy is something that we do. Going back to vision, values, and mission and making sure that those things are all aligned and everyone knows what direction we are all rowing is important. Many business leaders say, “Let’s do this thing and then figure it out along the way.” Having a plan is better but we have managed to make it work.

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your Messaging
Reframe Your Messaging: Ask a lot of questions. Get people to step back and think about why it is they do what they do. Why is it important to the world and to them personally? Look for that why.


I’m guilty of that sometimes myself, even though I counsel my clients to do the opposite. That’s part of being a human being.

I know you have a pretty interesting way of getting to that messaging methodology. Tell both audiences a little bit more about that.

We have a methodology that we call ABC, Ask, Build and Connect. The first one is asking a lot of questions. It’s both qualitative and quantitative. We will do online research when we can or other types of research or use any data that the organization might have. We also ask a lot of questions. I don’t mean to be dismissive but it almost turns into a therapy session sometimes where we try to get people to step back and think about, “Why is it they do what they do? Why is it important to them personally? Why is it important to the broader population to the world to the people they serve? What is that why? Why is this work important?”

I distinctly remember one time. In particular, we were working with a client and going through a workshop. I swear I could have seen across his face, him falling in love with what he did again. He had been in the business for many years. A light bulb went off and it helped reconnect him with his original passion. That too is normal that we focus so much on the day-to-day. We lost track of where we started and where we wanted to go. It’s always about trying to make the squeakiest wheel quiet. When we focus on that, sometimes we lose sight of the big picture, which is what our methodology tries to do. It tries to bring people back to where they started or at least bring them to the place where they should start from this moment forward.

I love that approach. I could have used that perspective back in the early phases of Relish. We found ourselves in exactly that spot. In that 2014 and 2015 zone, we started feeling like we were working for the business as opposed to running the business. It was like, “If I’m going to be doing things that I don’t want to do, then why am I taking on all this other entrepreneurial stuff as well? I could just go get a job.” That was when we took a step back and said, “How do we approach this from a position of purpose and come at marketing and at what we do from that angle?”

That’s when we became a 1% for the Planet partner. We joined a couple of other organizations like Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance here in the state and said, “We have an opportunity to craft this business how we want. If we don’t want to wear ties or work on Wednesday afternoon or whatever it is, we are ultimately in charge.” I love that more and more business leaders are embracing this idea that you have the opportunity to create an influence culture.

I go back and forth between saying we and I because even though I’m the only person here, I do have a team of freelancers and contractors that feels like we are all together. I’m not crazy, at least because of that. If you see my pronoun confusion, that’s where it comes from. We had to shift in 2020 during the pandemic because, before that, we were helping pretty much anybody that we thought we could. About April of 2020, I started thinking, “What do I want to do? Do I want to help organizations that are trying to make as much money as possible or organizations that are at least trying to solve some problems that we all face?

It became pretty clear that that’s where my heart was at. I came from the for-profit sector. I worked at a large corporation for many years. I learned so much during those years that I got excited about the idea of passing that on to people that wouldn’t necessarily have access to that thought process or those methodologies or approaches. That’s why we shifted in 2020 to focus on mission-driven organizations.

What are you doing to get in front of mission-driven organizations? It’s not one of those things that you can search for in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Are there any things that you have tried that have worked well to make sure that you are able to connect with those types of people?

Content marketing has to be dynamic, useful, and consistent with everything you do.

Much like you starting your business in 2008, I feel like I have restarted my business in the middle of a pandemic and a global recession. One of the ways before the pandemic that we would find new businesses is through networking, going to events, and talking to people. In 2020, that’s all but dried up. That has been a real challenge. What we have done is dialed up our content marketing. We are focused on trying to produce content that’s relevant and useful to folks and getting in front of them.

We have a newsletter we do every month. We post quite a bit on LinkedIn. We have dialed up our Facebook presence for those folks that are more Facebook-oriented than LinkedIn-oriented. It’s all about the content to remind folks that, first of all, we are here. Second of all, we do have expertise in the area and we can help them with their problems. Most importantly, it’s to get in front of them and try to help them, even if it’s through the read of a blog post or a more formal relationship.

I know that we met at the Nonprofit.ist event. There are still opportunities to do some networking. Clearly, we live quite a few miles apart. It’s not like we were able to meet in person but I believe we were in a breakout room together, and then followed up and jumped on a call. There are ways to continue to build, make those connections out there and leverage all of that because we were the same way. One of my KPIs in fact was, “How many networking events did I go to every month?” We saw that those tended to turn into conversations that then led to partnerships and revenue-driving activities, which is what we are all after at the end of the day.

Let me ask you a question about content because we had talked a little bit before about the role that content plays. It’s pretty important in my business. How are you advising your clients to think about content when it comes to furthering the messages behind their missions?

That’s a whole episode in itself, I’m sure. One of the things that we look at is if you have three main things that go into your online presence, thinking about your website, content is the primary thing that you need. You need that material to put into a website, first of all. One of the things that we see with Search Engine Optimization or SEO is that content is starting to become what the search engines are looking for. Where back in the day, you could maybe spoof the system and get better placement through some SEO techniques, which you can still do and there’s a place for pure SEO work.

One of the things we always recommend is to start with the audience and make sure that you are writing for your audience. You are creating valuable information and materials that people are going to have a good time and enjoy, and get something out of reading, watching or listening to. You can make some tweaks. I’m sure there are some SEO experts out there who would probably see some gaps in this philosophy. Ultimately, if you create great content, then that’s the thing that’s going to create the opportunity to build those relationships.

We see those three pillars as overlapping. You need a website to put content into. You need content for your website. You need content for SEO and your website needs SEO. Those things overlap, and then there’s a whole bunch of other stuff outside those three pillars. It’s everything from email marketing to inbound or content marketing, paid advertising, and social media. All those things also rely on content but they fall outside of that main foundational stuff that pretty much every business needs.

This popped in my head as you were talking. I get the feeling that we are almost like back at the beginning of the web when people started having web pages. Everybody had to have a webpage but they made it, and then they didn’t touch it for months. I feel like some organizations are thinking that way when it comes to content, “We will put some content up, and now what?” It’s got to be something that is dynamic, useful, and continues to speak to their audiences in new ways. To your point about the other pillars, it’s got to be consistent with everything, all those other media from email marketing and all the other stuff.

People aren’t thinking about the content the way they need to. They think about it in terms of, “I should do that.” It’s the same with SEO. I don’t think a lot of people understand SEO. I’m no expert and I hate writing for algorithms. We had a client that wanted us to write for the search engines and it was hard. Correct me if I’m wrong. You know way more about SEO than I do. At the end of the day, it’s not even useful because even if the search engine does find it, you have got your prospect reading it, and is it connecting? It’s probably not.

The search engines themselves are getting smarter every day. They can tell the difference between something that has been written for a person versus something that has been written to help them feel good. That’s getting harder to spoof. We always start with content because people have relationships with people. You may feel like you have some relationships with a brand if there’s some brand that you love if you are a Chevy guy or whatever it is. At the end of the day, there are people running that show. It’s people-to-people, even though we use terms like business-to-consumer and business-to-business.

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your Messaging
Reframe Your Messaging: People often forget what others don’t know. They spend so much time in their heads that they forget what’s inside their head. So you have to help them finish the work they’re trying to accomplish.


Another thing that we have tried to help our clients and do it ourselves is to look at how you are positioning your organization in the story that you are trying to tell. We have moved quite a bit toward the idea that if you can always put your customer in the hero seat of that story where your business or organization is the guide in that journey, create opportunities to express empathy and demonstrate authority for sure. If you can use you and your language as much as possible in your content, that tends to help start and build those relationships. People don’t necessarily want to go to a cocktail party and talk about me for 45 minutes. They want to hear how they fit into that story.

The thing that we all forget sometimes is that all the decisions we make are emotional. We use analytics to justify the emotions of what we want to do. If buying cars was about getting from point A to point B, everyone would be driving a Prius but that’s not what it’s about. We buy specific cars because it’s safe. We want what we want.

When we do this type of content marketing, it’s using that you and putting yourself in the audience’s shoes but it’s also trying to make them feel something at the same time. One of the things that’s great for the client bases that you and I have is that that’s slightly easier. It’s hard to get people excited about private equity software but it’s a lot easier to get people excited or feel something about helping kids that have been victims of child abuse.

Something that we have been exploring quite a bit is in the nonprofit space, for example. If we are speaking about an organization trying to get people to donate their time or money to help fuel a cause, that standard marketing funnel idea doesn’t necessarily hold true in a for-profit relationship. If there’s a thing that I want to buy, let’s say it’s a new bike and I have decided that I’m shopping for a new bike, you can start to get numbers.

Understand by creating awareness, and then broadening the reach of that awareness, that when you throw people into the top of that funnel and give them something valuable, eventually, they are going to come out at the bottom of that funnel, a certain number of them, and purchase that bike. The reward for that decision comes after you have collected the money from that person. There’s always this thing that’s going to help ease that friction of paying for a physical thing, deciding to buy a bike.

However, in the nonprofit space, it’s not a funnel. It’s like a mountain. You constantly have to battle this friction that people have because most people don’t wake up in the morning and say, “How can I give away some of my money or time?” The reward comes before you have collected the funds, for example. You have to continue to motivate people. There’s an additional volume of friction.

It’s not easy in the for-profit space but it’s not just throwing numbers at the top of the funnel. It’s continuing to battle that friction all along those decision paths. You have to also combat the idea of, “Why should I give to this organization versus another organization or not at all?” You could make the same statement for a purchase. However, it’s a lot less friction.

With bikes, for example, a lot of smart folks that are in that business try to create a community around a particular type of biker just as not-for-profits are. It’s almost like, “Come join us on our mission. Come be part of the solution.” To your point, that’s when you get to the transaction element of it first. It’s creating that community first, bringing them, and then closing the deal. Where the other way around, it’s usually trying to keep them there in a community that you then help create.

The community-building aspect is huge. That’s how we look at marketing. It’s all about relationship building. It may be an easier relationship to build where I need lunch and there’s a restaurant there. That’s not as challenging of a relationship to create because there’s a big need and a relatively low-cost solution to the problem. It can be you need to try to get people over months and months to feel like they are part of this thing to get them to take an expensive action.

Your employees have to have the same messaging with each other and with the people they interact with.

A car is a decent example where you have a high price point item and you need to get people on board with this thing that’s going to make them cool. When you first mentioned cars, I was like, “A car in and of itself isn’t cool. It’s the perception or the story that we tell ourselves about that car. That’s the thing that makes one car or another, whether that’s a Prius or Lamborghini, “Cool.”

I have a question. What we are talking about can be simple but it’s intimidating. I’m thinking about content in these ways. I’m thinking about building a community and having a multiple-prong approach to connecting with your folks. It’s intimidating for a lot of leaders in both for and not-for-profit. The people you work with, how do you make them feel more comfortable about taking that leap?

One of the things we do is we like to start with a strategy. That for us can be a fairly robust exploration into where they are trying to go. We try to get goals established and look for that value proposition. We will do a lot of research in the early phases where we are trying to get an understanding of not only who their audiences are but what those people think about the organization in terms of, “What were the motivating factors that caused them to pick this particular organization?”

It’s an interesting exercise because a lot of times, when we ask our clients upfront, “What are the things that create the opportunity for you? Why are people purchasing from you versus somebody else?” We are trying to get to that differentiation statement. A lot of times, it’s incredibly far off from what we hear from the clients themselves.

There’s a fairly economical exercise that almost everyone can do. If you have testimonials or reviews, you can go through those reviews and start writing down the adjectives that people use to describe the business that they were reviewing. From there, you can start to see patterns and trends and tease out the idea that communication was the thing, not how clean their equipment was.

Starting from that strategy piece, getting that due diligence, and doing those exercises to get a good feel for what the customer journey is, that’s the first step because then we have a plan and we all know what direction we are rowing. It’s a lot easier to create content itself but also create compelling content if you know what is motivating the people who are going to be reading it. That exercise in creating that framework is one thing that helps ease that anxiety around content creation.

Setting goals, I was talking with one of my friends about this. As people, we like to push the envelope. We like to say, “I’m going to do twenty blog posts next month.” It’s like, “That’s great. How many are you doing now? Let’s try and establish something achievable and realistic.” Also, what tends to happen is when you miss the first three, you are way behind after the first week. We tend to think that any miss on the goal itself is a complete failure as opposed to looking at how much we did get done.

For example, if I have set a goal to do ten blog posts in a month and I do nine, the way that our brains work is we tend to think of that as a failure as opposed to a pretty huge success because you’ve got 9 out of 10 blog posts out there. Creating consistency is helpful both from an audience standpoint and an SEO standpoint. It’s helpful to get in the rhythm and be able to see how well you can accomplish recreating content. It also helps you create a bundle of material that then you can bring into specialized pages.

HubPages are something that we have started to create. We’ll come up with a topic and then link out to all these other things that the customer has written over the years or created that help support that HubPages’ goal. Creating content itself, if you can get started, and then set an intention and stay consistent with that, are some of the things that we would recommend. How are you handling that pushback when clients aren’t excited about their content journey?

It’s tough because a lot of people we work with spend their days doing some important work. It’s hard to make the case that giving me a half-day to talk about what makes them different is a better choice than helping someone with their life or solving some hands-on issues, which isn’t always the case but sometimes that is the case. It’s trying to get them out of there in everybody. One of the things that I always talk about is that all of us forget what others don’t know because we spend so much time in our heads that we forget that, “Doesn’t everybody know that we are going to be moving in a year? I guess they wouldn’t know that, would they?” We forget what is inside our heads alone.

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your Messaging
Reframe Your Messaging: All the decisions you make are emotional. You just use the analytics to justify the emotions you want.


This is where the ask phase comes in and is helpful. We help them step back and think about the people they are trying to help and bring along with them, the work that they are trying to accomplish, and remind them what the rest of the world doesn’t know. Once they realize that, “We have to tell them. If we don’t tell them, then they are never going to figure it out. We are never going to get X, Y or Z done.” By helping get them out of their own heads for a little bit and think about what is out there and what is not out there, does typically motivate them to get behind this idea of strategic messaging in the execution.

Differentiation is hard. We are constantly bumping up against that with ourselves as well as others. That’s why great organizations like Spencer Brenneman and Relish exist is that we are able to bring an outside perspective. Most people are fairly humble and they don’t like to brag. A lot of us were taught at an early age, “You are not supposed to brag about yourself and whatnot.”

It’s hard to get to differentiation and having someone on your team that you bring in to help you get an outside perspective to say, “This isn’t easy for everybody else.” Whatever it is that you are doing, whether that’s helping feed hungry kids or selling widgets, it might be something that’s hard for the vast majority of us. When you do it every day, you think, “That’s not that big of a deal. That’s just building websites or whatever.” It’s like, “Most people can’t do that.”

It also bears repeating that you can’t cut your own hair or at least you shouldn’t. That’s what we do. We go in and help people do the things that they can’t do themselves. They could but the outcome would be pretty horrific. We go in and try to help them out.

The last time I cut my hair, my mom was very much displeased with that particular effort. You said it well. It’s how in our heads we get and being able to have someone help you step outside of that and help you figure out what that value proposition or differentiation statement is. That’s an investment in your content that can go a long way because it allows you to stay on message. I know you talk about staying on message quite a bit. How much do you focus on that with your clients?

That’s constant. That’s not the whole point. That’s one of the main elements because consistency is important across all the different channels, media, and people that are talking. We alluded to this at the very beginning. I’m passionate about the idea that no matter what you do, your employees have to have the same messaging with each other and with the people they interact with that you do in your more traditional marketing. Consistency is massive.

In our build phase, we try to help organizations hone in on those 3 or 4 things that make them relevant and competitively differentiated from all the other options that people have. It’s somewhat tough when we work with some not-for-profits because they think, “Competitors, that’s for-profit. We don’t have that.” We try to come up with the 3 to 4 things that make that organization who they are. It’s almost proof points to put up against their why, “Why what they do is important? How do they do it differently than everybody else?”

If you focus on those 3 to 4 pillars or articulations of what the organization does, it’s easy to stay consistent because you are not pulling from 100 different places. You are pulling from 1 of 3 to 4 places. As long as everything wraps up to 1 of those 3 or 4, not only is your message consistent but it helps keep your strategy on focus or on point because you can ask yourself if someone throws up a new idea like, “Does that fit into 1 of our 3 or 4 points of differentiation?” If not, probably it’s not what your organization should be doing.

I had one client say to me that one of the things that she got from working with me is she got the permission to say no to things. We all together came up with a very clear structure for what her message was that aligned with who the organization was. That’s why we call it a focus and messaging framework. That gave her a framework through which to make decisions that kept her and her message on focus.

You really can’t cut your own hair. You can’t do everything yourself.

I remember an exercise that I can’t remember who taught it to me. It was a sales-type exercise. If you came up with 4 or 5 questions or things that you were looking for during a sales process, it created a target. Let’s say you have a target with five rings and you start asking these questions and getting answers to these questions. If they were on target, then you would move one step in. If you’ve got 1 of the 5, you would be one ring in. 2 of the 5, you would be two rings in.

If you could get to 5 of the 5, that was a very highly targeted perfect sales opportunity. If you were only getting 1 or 2, it was probably something that you may want to pass on. Having that and understanding what one’s core values are, whether you are hiring, or even bringing in a vendor or targeting a client, knowing what those items are that make up your ideal partner is important.

Whether they are social entrepreneurs or anybody that starts or runs an organization, the great thing about them is they are typically idea people. They’ve got all these great ideas but the bad thing about them is they are idea people and they’ve got all these great ideas. Folks like that, we need them but they also need someone to say, “Let’s think about this. Let’s not try to do everything.” I’m a big fan of saying, “I can do anything. I just can’t do everything.” Let’s think about what it is that we can do and more importantly, what it is we should do. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, going back to that whole haircut thing.

I don’t know if you have ever read Traction or not. It’s a book by Gino Wickman. It’s also called the Entrepreneurial Operating System. In that, he creates a framework for every organization. Most organizations could benefit from this structure. You have the visionary and that may be the founder at the early stages. That person may be the general manager during the early phases where they are wearing a lot of hats.

At some point, you need to allow that person to continue to be that innovative thinker and then insert an implementer like a COO type of person in between that top role and getting things done. Those of us who are always thinking of new things to do, I call it the shiny squirrel syndrome. We are constantly coming up with some brilliant new idea that maybe is not so brilliant. It might be incredibly brilliant but if you are constantly chasing those ideas around, your team will never get much done. It’s an interesting way of thinking about how to segment those roles to make sure that people stay on target.

Until the universe decides to help us see clearly what are good ideas and what are not, we are going to have to think of some other way to sort them out.

That’s what a good CEO will help do is to say, “We are going to put that one over here for a while. That one is worth moving some things around or at least getting it into the queue for the next 30-day sprint or whatever it is,” however your particular organization works.

What is it you love most about what you do?

I’m the type of person who loves helping people. I love to serve selflessly in a lot of respects. The reason we moved to this purpose-driven idea was I was working on a project on a Memorial Day weekend. It was gorgeous out. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon on a Sunday and we were working for one of our nonprofit partners. I was hammering away on some projects that needed to be done shortly after the holiday. I stopped and said, “I’m not mad about this.” It’s helping people figure out how they can become their best. We do a good job at that with the strategy-first model. If I can continue to help people do that every day, that’s what gets me out of bed. How about you?

It’s pretty similar. I love seeing people get excited about what they do. I alluded to this before. I love helping people fall back in love with what they do because people get so focused on the day-to-day. I love getting people excited and helping them realize how great they are doing, and even how great they can do the potential that they have.

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your Messaging
Reframe Your Messaging: Create a community where everyone has the same missions. Create that community first and then you can close the deal on transactions.


I don’t have the skillset to keep people from being sick, comfort someone who has been through a trauma or save the planets through specific means but I do have the skillset to help those people who do all that stuff do it better and talk about it to more people that matters. I’m honored to have the opportunity to help people who are helping us all.

That’s sounds amazing. I love that approach and I agree. There are certain things that we can do and can’t do but if we can leverage those skills or talents that we have to enable those other people who have other abilities to be their best, that’s a win for everybody. I enjoyed our conversation again. Thank you for bringing me onto your show and being on my show. I appreciate it, Douglas.

Thank you for bringing me onto your show and being on my show.

It’s my pleasure. In my shows interestingly or at least I hope it’s interesting. I love having conversations but I’m also a man of action. I want people to take what they have read or had something to do at the end of reading my shows. If there was one thing that you would like the Relish This audience to do after reading our show, what would that be?

I would like everybody who is reading to take a second and pause. If that literally means hitting pause on your phone or whatever, feel free to do that. Hit pause for a second and think about one thing about their work that they know but not everyone else might understand. Take a minute and think about something. Find something that is going on in your head that would be beneficial for everyone else to know but it never occurred to you to talk about it.

Take that thing and share it. Helping spread that knowledge around would be maybe even the next step there. We need some content around it.

I like to end my show with a question called Crazy Town. What is one of the craziest asks that you have gotten from a client? How did you manage to either talk them down gently or make it happen?

I did have a crazy sales meeting one time where my business partner and I were in a sales meeting. This was the pre-legalization of recreational marijuana here in the State of Colorado. We were in a sales meeting talking to a guy about his project and he had nothing to do with that industry. He opened up his desk drawer, pulled out a pipe, and asked us if we wanted to smoke during what was for us at that time a very serious sales meeting. That was one of the crazier sales meetings that I have had. I will have to get back to you on the request.

What did you do?

You can do anything but you just can’t do everything.

We both respectfully declined but he went ahead and partook. We did not win that contract, which I don’t know if that was because we were reluctant to smoke with him or because it wasn’t the right fit or something. Who knows?

That’s another conversation if we do this again, which I hope we do because this has been great. We could talk about the cannabis industry and everything that goes into branding and messaging around that. As that’s starting to gain traction across the United States, I heard that even President Biden is starting to soften his point of view on the legalization of cannabis. That could be a cool conversation.

We have a little bit of experience in that space. We had some clients very early on, which was an interesting time in that industry. We could have another conversation all about that. That would be fun.

We don’t have to bring up pipes. We can do it as is, although it is legal in Massachusetts as well as Colorado, we wouldn’t be breaking any laws.

Thank you again for having this conversation with me. I had a great time.

Me, too. Thank you again for having this conversation with me. It has been fun.

I will talk to you soon.

Take care.

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About Douglas Spencer

RTNP 60 | Reframe Your MessagingDouglas Spencer is founder and president at Spencer Brenneman, LLC. He has more than 20 years of branding and marketing experience, working with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, tech, higher education, healthcare, and not-for-profits. Before starting Spencer Brenneman, LLC he was Vice President, Global Head of Brand Management for Thomson Reuters. In that role, he guided the migration of the multiple Thomson and Reuters businesses to form the then-new Thomson Reuters brand. He is also the author of Do They Care? The one question all brands should ask themselves, continually, a book that shows leaders how they can create meaningful connections with everyone important to their organization’s success. A life-long volunteer, Douglas is active in Boston’s not-for-profit community and once served as the Board Chair of a $100 million community health and research center.