July 1, 2022

Branding For Dealmakers With Anika Jackson

Branding For Dealmakers With Anika Jackson

 Anika is a mother, community volunteer, philanthropist, brand strategist and podcast host for Your Brand Amplified©. She has done it all as a marketer—experiential marketing/ event production, launch marketing, public relations, digital and influencer—throughout her multiple decade career. Today she speaks to us about Marketing and Branding for dealmakers!

Transcript

Josh
 Good day, fellow dealmakers. Welcome to the deal scout show on today. We're going to learn about PR about branding, about how to position yourself to the marketplace in order to get new deals, new funding opportunities, new strategic partners. And on that we brought on Anika. Super cool name. Welcome to the show. 


 Anika
 Thank you. Happy to be here. 


 Josh
 Yeah, we're happy to have you, so who the heck are you and what do you do? 


 Anika
 Wow, that's a very big question. We can go a lot of directions with that. So I'm Annika Jackson. I am an integrated marketing and communications executive. I have done of everything. I actually grew up in Kansas and started this journey in experiential marketing, AKA promoting DJs and clubs. I moved to Chicago, was working in that world and also started working for a marketing agency, creating programs for different brands, nightlife, promotions for camel and Smirnoff. Audi promotions got tired of being there and the snow and the cold decided to come out to LA, started working for a magazine and did a lot of B2B and B2C marketing, putting together different integrated programs. Again, kind of looking at the big picture. I moved to San Francisco and I launched revolution magazine, which was a dance music magazine with a CD again, B2B and B2C programs. When X-Box first launched, so I'm aging myself here. 


 Anika
 I launched the official X-Box magazine and did all of the programs. I've had a lot of experience in marketing and sales. I then went on to have a PR firm moved back to LA. I moved to Houston for a few years now I'm back in LA for the third and final time. Yeah, and my passion really is helping brands. Of all sorts, figure out how to get to the next level in their businesses and how to figure out who they are, what their authentic voices, what their message really is that they want to portray, whether it's to a journalist, to a potential buyer, to a potential investor, all of those audiences, the messaging is slightly nuanced, but it needs to weave the same narrative. 


 Josh
 Copy. Wow. Super cool. Wow. You created a dance magazine with CDs. 


 Anika
 Yes. It was called revolution early. It was like 2000 early days of the internet. I had to go on when there are just music chat rooms, AOL music chat rooms. I was like, Hey, we're starting a new magazine. Anybody want to promote it for me? I had, I built up like, underground street team of revolutionaries and I'd send them cool swag. We did like a six week summer tour with a tour bus and DJs and wrapped with sponsor logos events, New York summer stage I'm with jazzy, Jeff and near you console to parties, then winter music conference. When it was still in a music conference down in Miami, yeah. It was a lot of fun. 


 Josh
 Wow. You've got to hang out with DJ jazzy, Jeff. 


 Anika
 Yes. A little bit. Yeah. I was mostly backstage, but it was, it was very fun. 


 Josh
 Very cool. So, you, you started promoting DJs clubs, booze, cigarettes, cars, right. That kind of, that's where you got your knack in promotion and branding and such like that. Like what are some things you'd learned on brand positioning and structuring, how to get those things in the marketplace and then we'll parlay into different types of deals in the future. 


 Anika
 Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing, and it's interesting. I think it all starts from a place of connection and collaboration, figuring out who you want to partner with and how you show up in the market as compared to your competitors. Right? A lot of times I'll work with a brand and they'll say, well, we don't really have any competitors. Well, you do, everybody does, you just have to figure out what's your market differentiator and what's your story. I think the past few years we've really seen a change where marketing and PR were kind of separate entities. It's all integrated now. You can't have one thing without thinking about how it's going to affect the other. You also need to be really authentic people now demand. It's not just, I never smoked, but I could go to bars and get people to take a pack of camels and give me their, half pack of whatever other brand, because it was just, it was storytelling and it was salesmanship and it was, I was being authentic. 


 Anika
 I'm like, yeah, I don't smoke, but here you want these, do you wanna try them? I would not want to do that. These days would not want to convince people to smoke or try other cigarettes. It really does come down to knowing who you are, knowing what your brand story is and being willing to share that and get kind of people don't want to just see brands anymore. They want to know who and what our behind the brand. 


 Josh
 Yeah. All right. As you're working now, you said you built a PR company and now you work with a large group. What's the name of the group that you work. 


 Anika
 With best and elevate. 


 Josh
 Okay. Tell us about, what your focus is there and how did you land there and what'd you do on a day to day basis? 


 Anika
 Absolutely. Bastion elevate is part of bastion agency, which is based in Australia. It's the largest marketing and PR firm in the Australia Asia area, if you will. Australia, New Zealand, we have offices throughout Asia and then came to the United States about five years ago to become a, with a goal of becoming one of the largest agencies, integrated marketing agencies on the west coast. We work with a lot of different types of clients. We have a team that's just market research. We do, it's really interesting how much it's expanded because I was like, oh, I'm just going to do PR in my little marketing world. Now it's like, well, no, you have to have a foothold in digital ad strategy, social media, SEO, content, marketing, website design, they all have to look and feel cohesive and they all have to tell different parts of your brand story. 


 Anika
 On a day-to-day basis, I work with a variety of clients. I work with a lot of startups. I work with people in construction, industrial coatings, like a lot of different industries that I never thought I would be into because having that music background and that club kind of background, but it's really great when people have that moment where they realized that they can change their business and their lives through the power of marketing and PR. 


 Josh
 Super cool. So, you say that people want to see your story, the marketing differentiator and, your unique value proposition. They want to see the person, not the brand that's, that doesn't come naturally to, the industries like construction or commercial real estate or venture capital or private equity, like some where they're there, the work that they do is what do we do all day? We just, we, we make investments, like it's not very exciting. How do you take something like that and help them get out to the world? Like what's some advice do you have for those kinds of deal makers? 


 Anika
 Yeah. Well, I, I would say that I just spoke at a startup conference a couple of weekends ago. One thing that was really interesting was there was a panel where the angel investors and VCs spoke about what they're looking for and who they work with. Each of them told their unique story, right? Like one guy he has successfully exited from his first company, he's in the middle of his next company. He said he had to approach a thousand. He had asked a thousand investors to get the money in because he is a minority. He was in a marketplace that people might've thought was crowded, but his product was unique. His story was unique and what he was trying to do. And he just pushed and pushed. It took him about 10 years to find success, but he didn't stop. One of the VC funds was three women in orange county they're lesbians. 


 Anika
 They decided that they wanted to start this fund. They primarily focused on LGBTQ community and they do, maybe four verticals. Health tech was one of them, which I was like, oh, I have a client who would be perfect to get funding from you guys since I just introduced them. So I do. Then, there were other people who talked, who were more like what you're talking about, like, okay, we just do deals. We, this is how much we build. This is, you know, blah, blah. And they weren't really about that. The storytelling aspect or sharing who they are as people. I think I would say more and more people are engaging even as funders in wanting to know people's authentic stories and know, okay, yes, you have a brand. Why did he start this? What are, what are you doing? That's putting something different into the world than everything else that's out there. 


 Josh
 Yeah. So, all right. So, those people have, they have really unique story. They have, some life choices, like what, when is it too much to share or not share? Cause you're saying people don't want to see brands anymore. They don't want to see necessarily the company. They want to see the story. They want to see the founders. They want to see the mission behind that. Like how do you do that for like an investment group or construction company? Like, what are your thoughts there? 


 Anika
 Yeah. One construction company that I'm working with right now, they had not really thought about doing PR marketing. They had social media, they post on it. Somebody that we have in common said, Hey, you really should think about marketing and PR to get to the next level. They're two guys, they've been project managers. We have not been able to write separate bios because their backgrounds are so similar that we're like, we're just going to do a founder's bio when we're pitching you and on the website. What we did is we did a really deep dive into their overall branding and messaging for them. We redid their website. Now we're moving onto their social media and we're focusing some on them because we want to tell the story, how they met, how they started working together. They might not have some other unique story. Right. They might not have a sob story. 


 Anika
 I think the most unique thing is probably one of them is originally from South Africa. We can weave that into the story of like, okay, now you're in the United States and you're doing this work and also the industries. Why did they choose to work in alternative dwelling units and hydrogen fuel cells and Evy and telecom and how are they making a difference through those things? We're, I think for them, we're starting to weave in the story and we're starting to try to get them to be more comfortable. Hopefully, I mean, even as a branding team, we still have to get to know them better. Right. Like any client. A lot of times people will start and I'll be like, just push out my company. And then we're like, okay. We find out something interesting about them and they're like, that will help you sell what you're doing so much more because of your personal investment and why you started this. 


 Anika
 What was the need that you saw that inspired you to create this company and then to want to get funding and take it out to the world. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Got it. Got it. Yeah. That makes complete sense. Now, when working with some groups, they might not be, they're not, might not be as open as others, right? Like some people say, no, this is just what I want to do. For some reason they're going, we need to expand. We need to grow. We need to use this as a recruiting arm. We need to, maybe bring on some new investors or partners. Like what's some advice do you have for people who are like, I I'm a more of a private person. I'd rather not share my stories or my history or those kinds of things. Like what advice do you have for those kinds of deal makers? 


 Anika
 Ooh, that's a tough one because I think the numbers speak for themselves. I've worked with many clients who have wanted to stay behind the scenes and it they're just not as successful or they say, okay, my product is for this purpose. They don't expand it beyond when we're like, oh, but this product could have implications for this and this. And you need to show those things. They're like, no, we only created it for this. They don't want to be front and center. Quite frankly, those are companies that are not as successful. They're not getting in front of investors. They're not making sales. Everything that we do as marketers and publicist has to honestly map back to KPIs the old world where you used to say, oh, PR is going to help get you publicity, get in front of eyeballs, but it's not sales. I feel like that's a false narrative. 


 Anika
 Now, in some ways like you have to build up to that point, right? You have to get your branding set. You have to start maybe small and get those interviews and get to the point where then people, you have some brand recognition. You have some thought leadership recognition. I think that's the big buzzword right now is thought leadership. Even if we can approach it from that aspect for a founder, okay, you don't want to tell your story, but can we talk about why you're the executive from the marketing branding business perspective and your business authority. Usually that's a gateway that helps them open up to maybe starting to weave in more of their narrative. 


 Josh
 Got it. As people are doing this, right, like we're in commercial real estate or mergers and acquisitions, or we do some like podcasting and PR work there, like how do you decide what channels, when you talk about integrative marketing, how do you decide where people should be focusing? Because as a group, we could only focus on so much content creation and all the stuff, where should we put our focus in media. 


 Anika
 For those kinds of industries? I think the strongest focus is LinkedIn. I hesitate to say that in some ways, because I feel like it's starting to become oversaturated, but I recently had somebody actually on my marketing podcast and we talked about LinkedIn strategies and posting stuff on LinkedIn is fine, but you really want to do native content because native content is what the algorithm for LinkedIn is going to push. You want to publish thought leadership articles there first, you don't want to send links that redirect people away. I think that's a lot of what's happening with social media is yes. You ultimately want people to go to your website to, click your sales funnel, whatever it is. In each of those pieces of media, you have to have a standalone story as well. And so it's a little interesting market. I know Tik TOK is really big and I've seen a lot of people try to use that. 


 Anika
 Maybe not as effectively, because if it doesn't make sense for your business to use the latest song or the latest dance or whatever the latest craze is, if you can't genuinely weave that in, somehow don't do it please. But yeah. I think for most businesses in these, where are the people I think you have to think about your audience, right? A lot of the work we do at the beginning is who are you? Mission, vision goals, objectives. How are we going to reach those? What are the strategies to reach those who are your key personas? You're looking at where your investors or customers are living, what are those different personas? That's why I say LinkedIn, because that's where businesses and that's where investors are going to be living more than anything else. Now, a lot of times, if you're wanting to do something for more consumer side or reach out to the press, they are going to look at your social media, they're going to go to your Twitter or to your Instagram to see how you show up there. 


 Anika
 It's not a case of how many followers it's just who you are and what your company really is. 


 Josh
 Yeah. How are you showing up to these, to the world? What are some no-nos in personal branding for deal makers? Maybe it's a startup company trying to raise some capital and what are some no-nos where you're like, don't you ever do that again? Like smack them, right? 


 Anika
 Gosh, I'm trying to, I think it's when somebody has too many things that they want to accomplish at once. It ha I do feel like while we like to all be creative and strategists and dream big, you also have to look at like, what are those actual strategies and tactics that will get you there and take them one at a time. I've had people who want to get to the next level who are involved in mental health things. Maybe they have an app, but they also have an HR background, but they also have this knot and they only want to live in one of those areas. We're saying, well, the easier way, also look at what's low hanging fruit. So what's the easiest way. If you have a mental health app that you're trying to promote, and you really want to speak about this as an expert, but you have a background in HR. 


 Anika
 Well, that's a natural, you need to be, make yourself an expert in the world of HR when you're already, if you're already getting asked to speak on those things, right. You can weave in the app and the other work based on that kind of executive thought leadership space that you're already living in as an expert or for construction or real estate. I have worked with a company that was trying to do a lot. They have a magazine, they have different courses based on 12 modules. To me that gets a little confusing because I'm like, yes, all of these are important when people are thinking about how to invest or how to move forward with real estate. If they're going to do commercial real estate, if they're going to start investing in a group or, doing as an individual investor, but you can't be all things to all people at all times. 


 Anika
 Really narrow down each down who your audiences are and what your first objectives are, and then go from there. 


 Josh
 Yeah, that's a good point. Trying to be all things to all people, not nailing your I ideal partner or ideal customer profile. You're just just spraying and praying and hoping that, someone lands on your message as you're working with a group, especially entrepreneurs, focus is one of the hardest things. You're telling them to focus in on a specific avatar, that's probably the biggest challenge that person will ever face that found a reliever phase. How do you help them on through personal branding and marketing and branding as a whole, for their company to narrow down who they're speaking to that one, avatar, how do you help them do that? 


 Anika
 Yeah. That's, we've kind of developed a method where I think a lot of agencies that you work with, or a lot of independent professionals will just take what your story is and they'll say, okay, we're just going to get started. Right. What I've found is that's the least effective way to get started. If you don't have all of that background or information yourself, then you can't effectively advise and help them get to that next level. So we are very, I'm very strategic. I have a kind of a program module program that I've developed for that goes through all of these steps. Understanding who you are, what your goals are, who your customer personas are, then what's your brand messaging, to each of those. It's okay to have more than one persona, but don't have, like you said, don't have like 5 million. I think what's interesting though, is entrepreneurs are always changing and evolving. 


 Anika
 I've worked with companies that have been in business, 20 years and they've now started their next business and they're, they've gone through some of this work and then they've gone, oh, actually the audience that I thought I wanted to reach out to, isn't who I want to reach out to. They've retooled who they are as a company to match who their ideal audiences. I think that all of that background work, which sounds really boring and onerous is really important before we can even go out and start pitching or start making recommendations on which strategies to start with. A lot of times people think they need PR first and we'll go back and say, actually, you really need to build up your presence on social. Let's do that first and let's get you some SEO for your website and then let's move into the PR side. 


 Josh
 Okay. So, you first help them, you guide them through this process. And, and is that what you mean by integrative marketing? Like what does that mean? And then like, what's your process? 


 Anika
 Yeah, so I, a hundred percent, is that process, ask the questions upfront, maybe find a couple of interviews that will be really in depth, where we can get a lot of those questions answered and really learn more about them and their brand, and then go, oh, what? This was a really good nugget. Now we need to change, turn this into content, or we need to retool your bio, or here's some positioning we're going to do when we're pitching you to the media or to this investor group. So, so that's a lot of the startup work that we do it is. And I forgot what else you asked? Sorry. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Integrative marketing as a whole, like what, how, how would you describe that. 


 Anika
 Integrative marketing is the easiest way to remember it is PE so peso. Okay. What is your mix of paid media? That is your advertising budget, whether it's print digital radio broadcast, are you working with influencers? Is that part of your strategy? And are you paying them? Are you boosting content? Like you put a post on Instagram and then you're putting some ad dollars to boosting it, earned media is more of the PR space. That's getting you pitched for interviews, doing a thought leadership article and pitching that to publications, to publish from your point of view. A lot of times, yes, those are written by the PR or media teams or a ghost writer, not necessarily the person whose name is on it, spoiler alert, but it is their point of view, right? It is an interview that's done with them and then put into their own words. 


 Anika
 That's a really great way to build up content and help somebody be seen as a thought leader. And those, again, those are earned. They're not something that's placed in a publication and paid for. They are things that aren't being sent out and presented to ideal publications, ideal audiences, where they want to see and be seen and then placed. That's the same thing for interviews, looking for the right podcasts, right? Publications, what are what's trending right now in their industry? For instance, for construction, obviously a big one is supply chain issues. So is your company doing something different? Have they found a unique work around that will help with that or the environment and global crises? Okay. How has this company helping create more, Evie stations, hydrogen, what's the difference between hydrogen fuel cell and Evie, which one is better for the environment and better for people moving forward and like, what are the cost differentiators or ADU? 


 Anika
 We have a huge housing crisis, a huge homeless crisis in California. It's really expensive for people to live here. It's a huge barrier for people who are working class or middle class, or even, lower high class to be able to afford all the taxes and the cost of housing and how far have to commute. What are some other ways that in the construction industry, you can help solve those issues, whether it's working with legislators or coming up with, other solutions. 


 Josh
 Got it. Peso paid, earned, what was the S. 


 Anika
 The S is shared, 


 Josh
 Shared. And then I like this. I I've never heard that before. And then the, oh, 


 Anika
 Owned. That would be your website, your newsletter, your social media, anything that is you as a brand. 


 Josh
 Got it, got it. Out of all of those, what do you for a dealmaker, right? Commercial real estate or developer construction company, if you could only focus one of those, which would you, what are you most fan of? I know that integratively, you need them all, but if you had to choose one, what would you do? 


 Anika
 I would start with owned because that is your brand, right? How are you showing up on your website? How does that translate to your social media? What are you sharing in your newsletter? Are you being consistent with your content and messaging to the audience that you do have? What's your call to action on all of those and also color psychology. A lot of people don't think about that. They think they want to create a really beautiful website and brand, but you have to think about accessibility, ADA compliance. There are certain fonts that work better than others, whether in its font and size of font, are you reaching different audiences? Does your website need to be multi-lingual They're easy little hacks for that. 


 Josh
 That's cool. Color psychology. What's a no for websites and for marketing materials, I guess, are there any like that you would see and you'd like, you got to stay away from that. Here's what it really represents or means. 


 Anika
 No, there's nothing. That's a, no-no it just really is about what you want to evoke. Are are you trying to evoke joy? Are you trying to evoke a sense of calm and peace? Are you trying to evoke feelings of like empowerment and feistiness? All colors and the combination of colors mean different things. 


 Josh
 What about money, capital investing? What, what colors are good for that field. 


 Anika
 At green? Obviously, I mean, green blue is a very common color, ? So those are really good colors. I have seen some commercial real estate companies that use a lot of red and orange, really vibrant colors. I would have to pull out some of my color psychology decks to go into more detail. 


 Josh
 Got it, got it. What does, when working with a group, what does that typically look like? Getting started? How did, what problems do they have that they reach out to you and they go, I need help. What does that look like? 


 Anika
 A lot of times they don't even know the answer to that. A lot of times they're just like, I think I need PR and marketing, but I don't really know. And I, that's not my field. They honestly, a lot of times look to us to be the experts and help them figure out what they really need. 


 Josh
 Got it. For fellow deal-makers out there, construction companies, developers, all these different types of groups, where could they go to connect with you, learn with you and maybe have, you take a look at what they're doing and maybe add some input. Where's a good place for them to connect with you. 


 Anika
 Honestly, social media is great. I'm amplify with Annika on all socials and LinkedIn. I am on LinkedIn a lot throughout the day. It's always a great place to connect with people. And that is Annika Jackson on LinkedIn. Just my name, super easy. 


 Josh
 Super cool. What questions should I have asked you during this interview that I completely screwed up and did not ask you? 


 Anika
 I don't think there are any, I have like all these case studies running through my head of, but I think we've, without getting into specific names of people, I think we covered a lot of them, which is ideal. Right. So, 


 Josh
 One more time, where could people connect with you and do a deal with you? 


 Anika
 Yeah. Connect with me on social. Is that amplify with Anika? That is the best way to reach me. DM me, find me on LinkedIn at Anika Jackson. That is a N I K a J a C K S O N. 


 Josh
 Awesome. Awesome, awesome fellow deal makers in the audience as always reach out to our guests and say, thank you for being on the show. If what they're saying resonates with you, find a way to do a deal with them. All their contact information will be in the show notes below, so you could connect directly with them if you're working on a deal or help with deals. You'd like to talk about it here on the show, head on over to the deal, scout.com. A lot of quick form. Maybe get you on the show next till then talk to you all on the next episode. Bye. Everybody. 



Anika Jackson​ Profile Photo

Anika Jackson​

Anika is a mother, community volunteer, philanthropist, brand strategist and podcast host for Your Brand Amplified©. As a marketer, she has done it all including experiential marketing/ event production, launch marketing, public relations, digital, and influencer throughout her multiple decade career. She currently is the VP of Marketing at Bastion Elevate, a full service agency based in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

She is an appointed member of the Quickbooks Small Business Council; The Halo Collective, a consortium of primarily New York- based agencies across multiple verticals, and AIMM (Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing). Most recently, Anika has joined the Advisory Board for UC Santa Barbara’s PaCE Women in Leadership program.