This week, Jason Burnham joins us to dive deep in the past, present, and future of creating a healthy brand culture and surviving acquisition. Jason is widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of digital marketing and founded Culture Design to help businesses transform and thrive. He discusses the importance of maintaining good personal and professional relationships despite challenges, how culture and honesty affect every aspect of success in a business from the top down, and what is necessary to create a healthy approach to growing organizations.
[3:07] Jason founded Culture Design in 2019. He also co-founded Ad Age Top 25, and Mass Transit Interactive Inc., which was acquired in 2005 by Horizon Media, Inc.
[4:19] One of Jason’s biggest successes was hiring employees who then branched out and created 15 companies themselves. What started as 70 to 75 people grew to thousands of employees, with a larger impact than what was originally intended.
[10:26] Jason and his partners at Mass Transit brought their business to the point where it was able to get acquired, and they parted ways very amicably to pursue their own adventures. He also had a very stressful couple of personal hurdles including divorce and a family emergency.
[15:05] Cultivating healthy relationships starts with yourself and being sure you are acting in your own integrity and honesty. It is then that we can build trust with others, have empathy for them, and develop great communication skills to connect.
[21:48] When it comes to culture, there are no boundaries and no sectors that are left unaffected by others. Individual decisions at every level affect the entire team.
[26:11] The brand experience for big brands extend far beyond the walls of an organization. You must think about how you are engaging your entire ecosystem including partners and clients.
[35:04] Every role at an organization is critical to overall success. We must respect the different skill sets of others, and be clear on how they all fit into bettering the organization based on the goal and vision.
[44:47] Business models can change and they aren’t set in stone once created. The market changes, and you have to be adaptable to changing market dynamics.
[50:15] Trust is the foundation of any type of relationship, and there must be a psychological safety where employees feel safe to be their authentic selves and able to make mistakes without negative consequences.
[58:24] When you take a look at culture and act strongly upon it, don’t be surprised if you attract new people and shed a few that aren’t in line.
[59:31] Mid-level managers will be either the biggest conduits to creating a culture or resisting it. Their role is extremely important.
- “It’s really about leading with love, respect, compassion, and open communication.”
- “I don’t think we spend enough time appreciating the individual attributes that contribute to the larger outcome.”
- “A lot of companies are living inside a spreadsheet, not focused on the human aspect.”
- “Trust is the foundation.”
- “People will behave based on how they are rewarded and how they are recognized.”
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