Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube, discusses what brand tech is and whether Google is your new business card. When a person sees one of your company’s billboards on the highway and looks you up online, they are expecting to see consistency in branding and messaging. However, platforms like Google, Facebook, Bing, etc, have their own algorithms that could end up distorting your message if there’s no understanding of how they function. Today, Jason talks about what brand tech is.
[00:00:00] Narrator: From advertising to software as a service to data. Across all of our programs and clients, we’ve seen a 55 to 65% open rate. Getting brands authentically integrated into content performs better than TV advertising. Typical life span of an article is about 24 to 36 hours. If we’re reaching out to the right person with the right message and a clear call to action, that is just a matter of timing.
[00:00:33] Narrator: Welcome to the MarTech Podcast and I Hear Everything Production. In this podcast, you’ll hear the stories of world class marketers that use technology to drive business results and achieve career success. We’ll unearth the real world experiences of some of the brightest minds in the marketing and technology space so you can learn the tools, tips, and tricks they’ve learned along the way. Now here’s the host of the MarTech Podcast, Benjamin Shapiro.
Introducing Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and the Topic of BrandTech
[00:01:02] Benjamin Shapiro: Welcome to the BrandTech episode of the MarTech Podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro. And today, we’re going to talk about what BrandTech is and whether Google is your new business card or not. Joining us is Jason Barnard, who is The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube, which is a digital marketing agency that is pioneering the concept of Brand SERP optimisation and Knowledge Panel management. And today, Jason and I are going to talk about what is BrandTech in our first ever BrandTech episode of the MarTech Podcast. All right. Here’s the first part of my conversation with Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube. Jason, happy BrandTech Day and welcome to the MarTech Podcast.
[00:01:43] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Brilliant. So, Ben, the 19th of July is going to be BrandTech Day, whether people like it or not. And we’ll have to talk to Jono Alderson from Yoast who has Days Of The Year website. So we need to apply to become BrandTech Day is the 19th of July.
[00:02:01] Benjamin Shapiro: It’s the official launch. Unfortunately, this isn’t when we’re actually going to be publishing the content. So we might have to revise the date, but such is the way of the world with digital marketing. Everything is always in flux.
[00:02:12] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Very good point.
What Is a Brand SERP and What Does Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Do?
[00:02:12] Benjamin Shapiro: And I think that introductions are necessary here, Jason. You’ve been my guest on my other podcast, the Voices of Search Podcast, because you are a world-renowned expert on the Brand SERP. And there are non-SEOs listening to this podcast, the MarTech Podcast, who probably know what a SERP is, a search engine results page, but they’re probably not exactly sure what a Brand SERP is. So give us the lay of the land. Who is Jason Barnard? And what is a Brand SERP? Why are you The Brand SERP Guy? That’s three questions in one if you’re counting.
[00:02:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I am counting and I can probably get them all into one answer. The Brand SERP Guy is because I focus on what your audience sees when they google your brand name or your personal name. And the idea there is what they see is your Google business card. And you have the responsibility to design the anatomy, design your digital Brand SERP on Google. And it seems like you would imagine Google just makes its own mind up. But in fact, as a marketer with very simple techniques that require no technical knowledge at all, you can design your Google business card. That’s what I’m here for. I want to help businesses and people design their Google business card.
What Is BrandTech as It Applies to the Digital Marketing World?
[00:03:30] Benjamin Shapiro: Jason, you’ve got problems. We’ve discussed this.
[00:03:32] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’ve got a lot of problems, but that isn’t the topic for today.
[00:03:35] Benjamin Shapiro: Well, one of them is. We were talking offline and we were talking about your content strategies, about how you are a world-renowned SEO. And people think of you as The Brand SERP Guy. And you’ve been speaking to the SEO community for years. You’ve published a book, the Brand SERP.
[00:03:55] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right.
[00:03:55] Benjamin Shapiro: You’ve done a whole bunch of work positioning yourself and your company to SEOs, but your customers aren’t actually SEOs anymore. The way that brand is being used and the purpose of the Brand SERP is changing. So, we both agreed. Hey, you’re probably better suited talking to people that aren’t in your area of expertise that aren’t SEOs. The people that get the most value out of what you have to say are the non-search nerds, just regular digital marketers like me and the rest of the crowd who are interested in learning about how to better use technology to brand themselves, to brand their companies. So talk to me a little bit about what you think BrandTech is as it applies, not to the SEO crowd, but more to the digital marketers.
[00:04:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): That is my main problem, professionally speaking, is I come from an SEO world and with nerds and we get involved in all this tech stuff. And what’s really lovely about BrandTech is it isn’t actually very technical. It’s much more to do with branding and marketing. And I’ve struggled over the last few years to actually shift my own mindset to say what I’m doing is using SEO techniques that I’ve learned over the last 25 years to manage marketing and branding online. And ensure that when I talk about it, I don’t nerd out and frighten people.
[00:05:16] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I’m not a geek. I can do the geeky stuff, but the geeky stuff isn’t what I focus on. I focus on quality marketing, incredibly powerful branding, because that is now what Google understands. And what we can do within Google and in fact, all of these platforms, Bing, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, is explain, educate them about who we are, what we do, and who our audience is, which is the fundamental basis of any marketing or branding strategy. And I’ve struggled to get out of it. And thanks to people like you, I’m beginning to explain it in a more understandable manner.
The Changes in the Purpose of Brand as the Society Becomes More Technologically Evolved
[00:05:55] Benjamin Shapiro: I’d like to say, to put this in plain English, you’re recovering SEO. And sometimes we have our relapses and we talk about things like SERPs and core web vitals and all the nerdy shit that SEOs talk about that makes everybody’s eyes roll back, but I think that you are also an expert in sort of the application of SEO for a brand. So let’s talk a little bit about that and about how branding is changing. The notion of us working on this series together, the BrandTech series, is that for marketers and specifically digital led marketers, the notion of what your brand is and how your prospects and consumers reach and consume media related to your brand has changed dramatically.
[00:06:41] Benjamin Shapiro: Gone are the days of the billboard and the 62nd TV ad spot as the only way you can get in front of your customers to have them understand the one message that you have to say about your company with the hopes that they can then go find you. And now, we’ve got this proliferation of all sorts of brands, and it’s hard to figure out credibility. And often people are assigning credibility to who shows up first. Talk to me about how the purpose of brand has changed as we’ve become a more technologically evolved society.
[00:07:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. That’s a really interesting point is that as marketers, we look at a billboard and we say, well, we control our entire message or a TV ad. We pay, we control, people see it. The next step from that as an offline marketer is somebody will google your brand name. So the first thing you need to do if you’re doing any offline advertising is to make sure that what they see when they google the name they’ve seen on the billboard is absolutely perfect, is absolutely your message.
What Does It Mean When Platforms Are Filtered and How Does BrandTech Work?
[00:07:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The other huge question is once you’re online, whatever platform you’re using, whatever platform you’re communicating with your audience on, it’s filtered.
[00:07:50] Benjamin Shapiro: Tell me what you mean by it’s filtered.
[00:07:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): They all have algorithms that try to serve their users. So your audience is always a subset of the users of the platform you are on. So if you’re on Facebook, you need to understand how their algorithm functions, how it presents things to its users who are your audience. And my speciality is Google, because that’s where I come from. And my speciality is to say, how do I influence what Google will show my audience when they’re googling my brand name? Whether they find me online or offline, it doesn’t matter. At some point, they’re going to google my brand name.
[00:08:26] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And BrandTech, which is the topic for today, is what technology I can use. And traditional SEO tools, platforms, such as SE Ranking or SEMrush or Ahrefs, will talk about keywords. And they tend to be the informational keywords around your topic, all the sales keywords around what it is you’re selling. None of them focus on what is your brand perceived as by your audience through the lens of Google. And that’s what we do at Kalicube.
The Role of Brand Managers and the Obvious Solution Which Is BrandTech
[00:08:56] Benjamin Shapiro: So tell me a little bit about the role that I guess it’s the brand managers, right? When I think of brand marketing, I think of creative driven marketing. And the KPIs that people look at are high impressions, high frequency. They’re trying to get a message repeated to the same people over and over, but they’re not necessarily thinking about things like traffic conversions, right? Brand managers just get to spend money because it feels right and it feels like it’s good for the brand. And so there’s always been this little bit of a pushback in the digital era.
[00:09:33] Benjamin Shapiro: You infrequently see early stage companies thinking about brand marketing. They’re always direct response to man gen performance marketing focus because they need to think about the bottom line in survival. So, as we start to think about sort of this digital revolution in brand, how is the role for the brand managers changed and do they have to have more of a technical background now?
[00:09:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I definitely think they need to understand the universe in which they’re operating, which is not the same as the offline. So, the way you communicate with these machines, I was talking earlier on about educating Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft is that you need to package what you are doing for their consumption so that they can understand it, so that they can then filter it and project it towards the subset of their users who are your audience. That’s the huge trick you need to play. And BrandTech is obviously the solution to that problem is you’re saying I take what I was doing for branding anyway and I package it for the machines so that they know who my most relevant audience is. And that gives me a massive, huge advantage.
[00:10:42] Benjamin Shapiro: I think that’s really insightful. I think that the notion that a brand marketer’s job is still relatively the same in the sense of understanding who their customer is, figuring out what their company is trying to say, and figuring out how to voice that in a way that resonates.
More About the Purpose of BrandTech for Your Brand Message and Customers
[00:10:59] Benjamin Shapiro: But now, there’s this other layer. This is where Jason and this company come in. That it’s not just about having this great brand message, having something that resonates with your customers. You can’t just buy the media anymore. You don’t just buy the TV spot. You don’t just buy the billboard and say, this is who we are, this is our one sentence, our one-liner, visit our store, or find us in a catalog, or even figure out how to get to our website. You need to feed it to an algorithm. And the algorithms need to interpret what you’re trying to say, understand who it’s going to resonate with, and then display your message.
[00:11:34] Benjamin Shapiro: And so there is a new technological layer when it comes to branding. And most of that has to do with understanding Google’s algorithm or any of the other app stores that you might be using. It even can be performance marketing as well. You can run brand campaigns through Facebook and whatever PPC campaigns you want, but you still need to understand how those algorithms work. So to me, that really is the definition of BrandTech that we’re diving into. It’s that middle layer in between your brand message and your customer and figuring out how to get that message to your customers using your platforms. Jason, anything you want to add about what BrandTech is?
[00:12:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I think what you said is absolutely perfect. And if we look at them as filters, they can distort your message. BrandTech gives you the power to maintain your message, not have it distorted before it is seen by your audience, because your audience is on this platform. This platform can potentially distort your message.
[00:12:33] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the other is that these platforms will sort through and aggregate the information and present what it feels is relevant to a new audience that you haven’t necessarily seen. And if you can get your brand message into the algorithm’s brain so that it understands, it trusts you, it can match you to a new audience that you hadn’t previously seen. And that comes down to branding, packaging your branding so that it doesn’t filter, and it amplifies through these algorithms.
[00:13:02] Benjamin Shapiro: Oh my god. There’s so much that we have to dive in to cover BrandTech. It’s a good thing that we’re going to make this a reoccurring series and we’re going to start that again tomorrow. And that wraps up the first BrandTech episode of the MarTech Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube. Join us again tomorrow when Jason and I published the second ever BrandTech episode when we discuss whether Google is actually your business card.
Learn More About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Through LinkedIn, Twitter, and His Company
[00:13:28] Benjamin Shapiro: If you can’t wait until our next episode and you’d like to learn more about Jason, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile on our shownotes. You can contact him on Twitter where his handle is jasonmbarnard or you could visit his company’s website, which is kalicube.com. Just one more link in our shownotes I’d like to tell you about. If you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, head over to martechpod.com, where we have summaries of all of our episodes and contact information for our guests.
[00:13:59] Benjamin Shapiro: You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you can even send us your topic suggestions or your marketing questions, which we’ll answer live on our show. Of course, you can always reach out on social media. Our handle is martechpod on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Or you can contact me directly. My handle is benjshap. And if you haven’t subscribed yet and you want a daily stream of marketing and technology knowledge in your podcast feed, we’re going to publish an episode every day this year. So hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed tomorrow morning. All right. That’s it for today. But until next time, my advice is to just focus on keeping your customers happy.