May 24, 2023

128. Are you a Challenger Brand? with Craig Alexander

128. Are you a Challenger Brand? with Craig Alexander
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How do I develop a message that connects with my potential clients? How do I compete with big competitors in my industry?  We talk with Craig Alexander,the President of Gumas -- an award-winning advertising agency and the country’s foremost authority on Challenger Brand Marketing®. Are you a Challenger Brand?

Connect with Craig Alexander:

BOOK:Challenger Brand Marketing

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You can find Dana @adashofboss, @dana.dowdell and @hrfanatic
Dana DowdellBoss Consulting – HR Consulting
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You can find Russ @reliable.remediation
Russ HarlowReliable Remediation – Disaster Restoration


Dana Dowdell 00:04

Hi Russ,


Russ Harlow 00:05

Dana, how are you today?


Dana Dowdell 00:07

I'm good, how are you?


Russ Harlow 00:08

I'm looking forward to one of my favorite conversations.


Dana Dowdell 00:13

Yep, marketing and branding. We have Craig Alexander here with us. And he is the president of Gumes Advertising, as well as the author of Challenger Brand Marketing. Craig, welcome to It's Just Business.


Craig Alexander 00:29

Hi, Dana, Russ, thanks for having me on board. So glad to be here and chat a little bit about marketing, most particularly challenger brand marketing, which I'm guessing is relevant to a lot of your listeners, as I think we're all challenger brands in one way or another.


Dana Dowdell 00:45

I feel like everyone's just always trying to figure out what's the best way to market? What's the best way to brand, my business? How do I flex, how do I pivot and all of that, and I'm sure we're gonna get into it. And I'm sure the book touches on it. But before we talk about that, tell us a little bit about how you got started in being an entrepreneur.


Craig Alexander 01:03

Oh, yeah, excited to talk about my background, I been in the advertising industry, my career, went to school in Los Angeles, pursued degrees in journalism, broadcasting theater, did a lot of work in that area, and then discovered advertising as the way to put it all together. And I was fortunate to be hired by a large New York agency out of school. And after several years, I was able to turn that into a an independent small agency that my partner John Gomez, founded in 1984. But I joined him in 2011. And together we have created what we refer to as a challenger brand marketing approach, which is a trademark language to us. We've written two books, marketing, smart, and then just recently released our recent book called challenger brand marketing. And our agency is built to help. All marketers who are up against complex marketplaces now, just about everybody's a challenger brand, but the way we look at things is if you're being out resourced in your industry, and that means, certainly means outspent, but also, better brand awareness, better distribution, price point, advantages, all the things that would take place in any industry, then you're a challenger brand, and you need to look at things differently. And so well, our San Francisco based agency helps challenger brands what we like to say take on their industry, gorillas and win.


Dana Dowdell 03:02

Oh, I have so many questions, Russ. And I just did a two part series on David and Goliath and like how to, like work up against the bigger brands. But before we get into that side of things, so you mentioned, advertising, right, like that's your background is advertising the same as marketing.


Craig Alexander 03:23

Marketing is more broad advertising would be a subset of marketing, right? So marketing is what's it going to take to sell something. Advertising is a tactic within marketing that helps you accomplish that. So, it's not the same thing, but they're certainly related.


Russ Harlow 03:42

And so, I'm thinking about and everybody has challenges in their space, there's always competition if there weren't any competition, you know, life would be easy, right? In my space, we do you know, water damage, mold remediation, the big names in the industry, surf pro ServiceMaster, the things that everybody they recognize the big franchises, and so I'm always out resourced, as a small, independent, you know, whether it's challenging on the way they their cost per clicks on online advertising, or, you know, they can afford a Superbowl ad. I'm always out resource. So, I'm a challenger brand. How do I find places where I can? How do I find my niche? How do I add my people? How do I find my people? Crikey?


Craig Alexander 04:22

Yeah, yeah. So yeah, here's the secret of all the things that we're going to talk about today. The magic for a challenger brand to be able to take on their industry grills and when it's to understand what it is their customer needs to hear from them, that's going to drive them to action. It all really comes down to the message. So set the tactics aside, set your budgets aside, truly understand what it is that your customer needs to hear from you that's going to connect with you on an emotional level and drive them to action, and then surround them with that message. And so that's the whole Overview now how you do that, of course is you ask your customer, what do you need to hear, and you have that conversation with them, we recommend that decisions made toward messaging has to be data driven. So, we have to spend time talking to your customer, to extract the emotional connection that they have with you, we like to identify those customers who love you. And then recreate that love with folks who don't know you yet. And then apply that that messaging to them, which will connect you to the customer base. And then we talk tactically on how to surround the, the prospect with that particular message so that they see you everywhere their turn. So, you've got digital applications, and traditional applications and trade and on premise, and there's a whole world out there, but it's really all about connecting with your prospect on an emotional level.


Dana Dowdell 06:04

So, you said it's about finding the message that your customers want to hear? Yeah. I feel like he sometimes says needs to hear. So, I feel like it's, I feel like as a business owner, so sometimes you're like, Well, this is the message that I think that they need to hear versus what they actually need to hear that's going to drive them to take action. Can you talk a little bit about like, kind of stepping away from what our ego is telling us?


Craig Alexander 06:33

Yeah. So if your guests marketing, you're in trouble. It really is, is you have to know. So we talk a lot about this when we have conversations with our clients, about if you think this is what you need to say, then you're wrong already, you're wrong. Because you need to know and the only way you know is by having conversations with your current customers. So, we do a three pronged approach to confirm that you know what it is they need to hear from you. So, we'll have those conversations as described with a, a prospect. And we actually do I know it's totally old school, but we'll do phone calls, I will have a one on 120 minute phone conversation with a customer to extract from them the emotional connection, and I have a series of questions that I'll ask a customer, that puts them in a position where they really want to think more emotionally. And so that's prong one is talking to the customer, the other thing is talking to, to the marketer, and getting that sense of what lives within the organization, right, the essence of the organization lives within everybody who's part of it. So, we have to extract the essence. And we do that through a similar series of conversations, we also will put our client, the marketer through a brand symposium. So, it's a half day session, where we run the leadership team through some branding exercises, that not only gets them thinking aspirationally, so you get a little vision of where the organization is going. But really, what's critical about a half day commitment from a leadership team is to align that vision and direction to the organization. Because oftentimes, you take different members of a leadership team and put them in different rooms and ask them what your company stands for, you're going to get completely different answers to that question. Or an organization that that's efficient and moving forward, needs to say the same thing the same way, wherever they are in the world, no matter who asks them the question. So, it's internal talk, talk to the leadership team, put them in a room symposium, the external talk to the customers. And the third part is what we talked about the very top of the discussion, that's the competitive environment, understanding what the marketplace is saying and doing and how they're connecting with your prospect. identifying opportunities where we can, you know, zig zagging, and also areas that they might be really missing the boat, or areas of envy. Right, some things that they're doing quite well, and that's worthy of replicating, understanding the competitive environment. So those are the three internal external competitive that stops us from saying, I think


Russ Harlow 09:28

I absolutely love your use of the words or the phrase guests marketing, because that's how it just, it's spot on. It's perfect. I'm curious about this. When you talk to your client to try to get information from them and what makes an emotional bond and that connection. Do you have a special process that helps to alleviate because most people don't like confrontation? Right? So, if you ask a question, Hey, why did you call us or what they a lot of times people want to tell you what they think you want to hear? How do you get around some of them Add in that interview process so that you get good data.


Craig Alexander 10:03

I love your questions, Russ because they're so perfect for the conversation they. So, first thing is, we do a phone call, we talked about that, right? Because people can't look you in the eye, even in zoom, we can look each other in the eye have a conversation, and we can form the responses to questions. So, in a way that makes you smile. I don't want that I just wanted the truth I want I want the genuine candid response to a question. But really an interview is not what you think about a product is how the product makes you feel. So, we like to ask questions of our interviewees that get them thinking differently. So, we'll ask them. The first question I like to ask somebody is how they define the company or the product. So, I'll set a scenario where you're a customer, and let's say you're a plumber, and you've got somebody who needs plumbing. So, I'm talking to a plumbing customer who seems to love this plumber. So, we'll ask them, hey, let's say for a minute that your friends at Acme plumbing gave you a baseball cap that had the Acme logo on it, and you happen to be walking around in your neighborhood. And the neighbor shows up and says, Hey, Russ, Acme plumbing, what's that all about? How would you describe Acme pump plumbing to someone who's never heard of the company before? So, we'll get the foundational opinion of what they have. It's something like that. And then we'll take them through a series of questions that include things like magic wands, right, so you've got a magic wand, you can change one thing about Acme plumbing, no matter how big or impossible, what's the one thing you would change? And then we'll get them thinking in terms of, we'll do a whole series of word associations. Again, on a phone, no one's looking at me. I'm just going to say a word. Plumbing, bathtubs. Let's say


Russ Harlow 12:06



Craig Alexander 12:07

septic tanks flooding, yes, I get that emotion that that brings them down to a point where we'll ultimately talk about some competitors. You know, what do you think of ABC plumbing, and then we'll finish up with Acme plumbing, which will give us one word, and that one word usually takes me into to a follow up. Question. So, if I say Acme plumbing, the first thing someone says maybe is confidence, or relief, or satisfaction, or hopefully all the things that are emotionally connected. So, we get one word and say, All right, so you say the first thing you think of when you think of Acme plumbing is relief. I'm going to ask you to think about Acme plumbing in a very living, breathing dynamic way. So, if Acme plumbing, were a famous person who represented the way you feel about Acme all of the personality traits, the attributes, characteristics, let's create a persona, if there's someone in the public eye, that stands for the sorts of things that Acme plumbing represents to you, Who might that person be? And so, they'll, you know, whatever they'll say, somebody who provides a sense of, of confidence and dependability. And maybe, you know, maybe it's, I don't know, we'll, we'll pick, let's say Ronald Reagan, just for an example of someone who they think is, this is somebody that I can depend on. Great. So that's going to lead us towards a persona creation. And you add all that together with the others that you speak to. But that's the general idea of how we go through an emotional conversation.


Dana Dowdell 13:44

It's so interesting to me, because like Russ, and I started this podcast because there's so much noise and in business, and the name of our podcast is it's just business, like, at the end of the day, it's business. And so, the idea of having, having to constantly assess emotions, when being a business owner, you know, I'm an HR consultant. So, there's like, lots of emotions and what I do because employers get frustrated and mad, and man, I'm constantly telling them like, you know, let's take the emotion out of it and think about it logically. So, it's really interesting for me to think about marketing in an emotional way.


Craig Alexander 14:24

It's unavoidable. And that's because marketing is a people business. We love to call out this whole b2b b2c language, right? Business to business because never in the history of mankind, has there been a business who's done business with another business, right? It's always been a human being at a business who's made the decision to work with another human being at a business and by the nature, it is an emotional conversation, right? It's you cannot extract it. So, from an HR standpoint, HR is human resources. Human is emotion it's impossible how that department in any organization and, and brilliant people like you, Dana, how you were able to pull the emotion out of a human resources discussion strikes me as being very difficult.


Russ Harlow 15:14

Yeah, and we make all of our purchasing decisions at some level on an emotion. Even if we take a logical approach, like I do research before I make a big purchase. Right? So, I'm looking at something I check reviews, and I look specifications and what's the, you know, so but it's also I can feel good about my purchase. Like, I'm not still not removing the emotion from that. So, I'm curious, and I'm having a hard time grasping it with my message and honing it. I don't know if you're familiar with Don, or down Donald Miller's creating a story brand. But it's that same idea that telling your story is making that emotional connection with your clients. I was wondering how the challenger brand marketing does.


Craig Alexander 15:56

Yeah, so it is just as you describe, right, it is storytelling, but we believe that you have seven seconds to say who you are, what you stand for, and how you make a difference for your user, for your customer. And that applies naturally to a website. Of course, when somebody comes to the website, they land right on there, you've, got that amount of time before they're gone, and on to the next on the list. But it also applies to initial language, even in printed materials. So, when you have a positioning statement, you have to be able to articulate in the that seven seconds, even in writing, who you are, what you stand for, and how you make a difference for your customer. And those three things, is in a statement. And together, we'll figure that out whether it's feedback from you, and feedback from our customer blended to make sure that that language is clear, but somebody needs to know they're in the right place. It's for them, and what they're gonna get out of the relationship.


Russ Harlow 16:58

And you mentioned the website. And it's interesting, because as I was going through Google's website, one of the things they landed on, I was like, I want to learn a little bit more about Craig, and I go over to the about us page. And there are pictures of all of your staff, as little kids. And there you are in your Cub Scout uniform. And it's got a bunch of information about like, not necessarily useless stuff, but questions about your favorite song, your favorite color, these steal things. And I was like, this is beautiful. Like this, a lot of companies don't do this. And there was an immediate connection, I did make a connection. And I was like, I love this part of the website. And it tells me nothing about what they do. But it made a connection. And I know that was intentional. So, tell me about some of the other things like that.


Craig Alexander 17:41

Yeah, so that's because we're people, we're humans, and we connect on the emotional level. So we need to create an environment where that's, that's the norm, we're accepting that we're people connecting with people, naturally, you have to make business decisions, and, and you have to have a corporate professional environment. But we made the decision that let's, you know, turn this into a kindergarten classroom a little bit, which is something that we do also, I mentioned earlier in the conversation about the brand symposium that we do with our clients. And it's, I think, relevant to comment that we treat that as a little bit of a preschool classroom too. And when we put our, you know, we're working with very large brands with eye level employees. And we're putting in around a table filled with pipe cleaners and baseball cards and candy and playdough and pipe cleaners and flash cards and getting people to you know, create little toys and because that's an emotional beginning to a conversation that gets people thinking differently about the way they run their business. So that human connection is important on the emotional level, and so carried over from the kid pictures on our website to how we work with our clients. So I don't know, maybe that helped a little bit with where we are on the human to human level.


Dana Dowdell 19:10

Well, I hear that too. And I'm like, that's, that's brand alignment for boumous. Like if you approach your own marketing and brand that way, and then that's how you do these symposiums with your clients. Like that's, to me strategic being strategically aligned in how you practice your business.


Craig Alexander 19:28

That I think that's fair. Yeah. Glad you made that connection.


Dana Dowdell 19:33

So, I want to ask about artificial intelligence because I feel like you can't look at Facebook, LinkedIn, anything without reading about it. And I've had people say to me, you know, fire your copywriter, because you can just use artificial intelligence. Do you have thoughts about how artificial intelligence impacts branding, marketing advertising all of 


Craig Alexander 19:55

Oh, of course, absolutely. It's critical conversation but what it is today is nothing like what it's going to be tomorrow. And I think that it's all going to like anything, it begins with acceptance. And I think accepting that there is artificial intelligence that will lead us towards better connections with our customers, then we're all for it. Is it going to replace human expertise? No, it can't. And we can't allow that because we have to have our own stamp on it. If we are using artificial intelligence to help us identify what the right messaging is for someone, then we're missing out because it's not connecting with that customer. On a direct level, we're getting a generic aggregated opinion, as opposed to an individual. This is what I love about you point of view. So, we see that AI is it's not only here to stay, it's going to become so much more than it is now. We're all we're all for it. It's a great starting point, it can help research, the research aspects of AI are unlimited. But it at least as far as challenger brand market is concerned, and how our agency makes our living by understanding what that customer needs to hear for that particular marketer. It's a starting point, but we can't possibly rely on that without having that that individual connection.


Russ Harlow 21:33

I'm curious more about because you say anyone can be a challenger brand. And I want I want to give you some time to expand on that. And one of the things that I noticed like on your website, I was watching one of the videos you did talking about strokes being a strong Midwestern beer brand and Detroit area that decided to go national up against bud Miller and everyone else, and were squashed back down to the Detroit area because they weren't prepared to hit that challenge. So, from a big perspective, anyone can be a challenge or brand. But for a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs who, you know, aren't, you know, even distros for that matter? How do we approach that relationship and kind of embrace the Challenger moniker, and, you know, break into and find our niche in our market?


Craig Alexander 22:21

Yeah, I think I used this language two minutes ago, begins with acceptance. And I think when we accept that we're a challenger brand that, first off, we don't have the resources to go toe to toe with the gorilla brands in our category. So, we accept that. So, we have to be very forward thinking in the way that we market our message, our product. This really comes down to trackable tactics. And let's, let's say for the purposes of this conversation, we understand what it is our customer needs to hear from us. So we have the message clear, we're able to put that into our materials, our website is our magnet is the first place we want people to go, everything we do needs to drive traffic to that website, so that we can collect the data course, but also tell our story, and engage with that prospect. So, whatever the call to action is, and maybe it's by now or watch a video, you were kind enough to watch one of our videos, take a tour or whatever it might be. I tactically everything you plan has to drive traffic to the website, so that you can control who you're talking to, and you can monitor it. So, that's going to limit the tactics, right, you're not necessarily going to run a series of billboards, because you can't really tell how that's going to get somebody directly to your website, if at all to your website. So, we think about ways that can with a click get you to that website, and then we can control everything that happens at that point. So lots of digital marketing naturally is going to be a part of that. But also ensure that even in tangible you know, three dimensional material, leaflets, pamphlets, trade show materials that you've got QR codes that will take you from a pamphlet to the website where you can track activity, convert them to whatever that might be. So I think that might be the first thing to do is think about tactically sending everybody that you can to your website so you can control the flow of your incoming prospects.


Dana Dowdell 24:46

Do you think that every company needs to have a website?


Craig Alexander 24:53

Well, I don't know if you can say every company but I can't think of one who doesn't. I need to be convinced that there's a reason why you would not have a website. And we've certainly had conversations with people who don't have websites don't want a website. And then it doesn't take long to get them to understand what the value of having a marketing hub, do all the work for you. You can't be everywhere to talk to prospects, but your website can. And so, I would need convincing. Do you have a Jevon argument, Dana, that you can convince me that someone doesn't need a website?


Dana Dowdell 25:31

No. I mean, I feel like every once in a while I hear, you know, some, you know, some marketing message that says, I built a six figure business without a website, you know, you know that those tchotchke little phrases that people have. And then I think about, you know, the smaller companies where you drive by, and they, you know, like a small CPA firm, let's say, who maybe doesn't have a website and just as word of mouth, but I'm curious, just from your perspective, in in the work that you do, because I, I'm sure there's still people that feel that, no, I don't want to have a website, people will find me in the way that my mom, my mom owns a store. I bought the URL, because I'm convinced she needs a website. But she absolutely refuses to have a website, because she's like, I don't want to sell online. That's not where I want to be. I want to sell face to face. And I just think it's an interesting conversation. Yeah, and


Craig Alexander 26:24

so, for the, at least for the conversation with your mom, it doesn't necessarily have to be an entail arrangement. This is strictly a validation. It's a reason for somebody to confirm what they believe is true about your company, just to see it on a website and understand that this is a real legitimate company. Here's your purpose. Yeah, you're from me. If you're trusting someone else to tell that story for you. All right. Well, you've heard of the game of telephone, I don't want to trust 15 people down the road to tell my story I want my story told by me.


Russ Harlow 27:00

Correct is it also go to, like, what business owners want from their business? Like sometimes if, like, right now I own a job, and my business is in like a business yet, like it's still growing, I have to grow it to a point where it's gonna be a business, and it's a saleable asset or whatever. But some people are satisfied being a solopreneur. And they own a job. And this is totally fine. It brings in enough income, I don't really need a website, I don't really care. I mean, do you think it kind of boils down to some of that? Because I think if you want to grow a business, you got to have a website?


Craig Alexander 27:32

Oh, certainly, if someone's not interested in growing their business, then I'm not really interested in talking to them. You're fine. You don't need me, you don't need either of us as well. I mean, it's, I think it's, if you're looking to make a difference, change, whatever is current, whether that's your business, the level of business today, or your mission, whatever that organization might be built to achieve. And maybe it's unit sales, but maybe it's to change the world. If you're not interested in making a difference, then why bother? No, there's no need for any of that stuff. But that's, I don't know, many companies that are interested in selling fewer things tomorrow than they did today.


Russ Harlow 28:23

I just I've run into a lot of contractors that have kind of that mindset. So, you know, this smaller guys, chuck in a truck. You know, wow, I'm doing fine. I got nothing. 


Craig Alexander 28:34

You know, if you're doing fine, you're doing fine. Who will we just say? Right.


Russ Harlow 28:39

Like, I can't judge what you want to do with your business. So, I think that's what it boils down to. Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. What are some other things that we can do? I know that one of the things you had mentioned, was kind of marketing within the land therapy and doing things in the community. And what does that do for our brands? Does that help make that emotional connection?


Craig Alexander 29:02

Yeah, but more so than ever. So, we love philanthropy marketing. I, I've now coming on my 20th year serving on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Giants Community Fund, which is such a passionate partnership that I've had with them for so long, it's so meaningful. And we've helped them as we have with the 40 Niners foundation up in San Francisco as well, to identify their message and position themselves in a marketplace. And so, philanthropy marketing is really traditional marketing, because philanthropies and there are hundreds and hundreds of them and your market is a competitive field. And as a donor, a contributor, a supporter, whoever the audience is for that particular philanthropy, that prospective donor. They're hearing from a lot of people who are interested in their money or their services. So, if you consider yourself in a competitive environment, then you're going to market yourself as a business would, and make sure that your message is cutting through to that prospective donor in a way that drives them to you, as opposed to the philanthropy next door. So, I think the mindset is that charities philanthropies, nonprofits, they need to think of themselves as a for profit corporation, that is, are in competitive environments that require marketing in a way that distinguishes them from their competitors, and drives traffic to, in this case to the website. So yeah, it philanthropy marketing is fascinating. But it's really just traditional marketing.


Russ Harlow 30:50

I feel like there's a couple of different things there like the Nonprofits and Charities can pair themselves with for profit entities as sponsors. And that is a two prong message like these people share our values. And then those people that they serve, and there are other contributors see maybe like me as a for profit supporting that charity and go, Oh, I have something shared, I have shared values with them. And that's an emotional connection to so I feel like there's a lot that can happen there. Right.


Craig Alexander 31:20

Yeah, that's a really good point to us and thinking about marketers, and how much of their efforts. So, on the client side, how much of their efforts is supporting charities in their community, which is critical and important and valuable. But one of the things that we find so regularly with our clients, who are their hearts are absolutely in the right place, is that they don't have any focus on what those charitable contributions are. So, it's a golf tournament, here, it's a big sale over there it is throwing money towards the MDA or on this side and helping the children's hospital it's we believe that supporting charities and philanthropist in your community is a way of marketing internally. And the way to do that is to be known for something that you do. So, it's not just donating money to an organization. But it's donating money that's connected to you in some way that's branded to you in some way so that people know that Hall. This is the Acme plumbing, teddy bear drive, it's that time of the year again, everybody buy a teddy bear for 50 bucks, and that money is going to be supporting the local children's hospital. But it is the Acme plumbing. Teddy Bear drives. So, it's, you're known for that. So instead of putting money towards a golf tournament, where you're one of 50 brands on a sign, find that one thing that you can be famous for and really do it.


Dana Dowdell 32:57

So much good stuff here. All right, Craig. So, we do a lightning round with every guest that we have on the episode. So, we're going to take you through it. So, our first question is, what is one thing that you wish you had known before starting a business?


Craig Alexander 33:12

Hmm, well, first off, I think know yourself first. I have a terrible fear of failure. And once I overcome a fear of failure, really, it opens up a lot of doors. And I think from an entrepreneur standpoint, is if you can get past that fear of failure. I think if I'd have been able to do that earlier in my career, I think I would have saved a lot of like, blood pressure points. So, I think overcoming the fear of failure, I still need work on that.


Russ Harlow 33:52

It's funny you say that I, I similarly, I'm so afraid of failure. I don't even call it that. I just say I'm risk averse. So, I don't even have to say the word failure.


Craig Alexander 34:02

It's so true. Yes.


Russ Harlow 34:05

All right with you. As a marketer, what's your favorite way to market your business?


Craig Alexander 34:10

Oh, this is a great one. Podcast marketing. Can we talk about this what you do what you two are doing? The audience? This is such an emerging industry. And it's so important and valuable. Without question right now, my favorite way to market our business is through these sorts of podcasts.


Dana Dowdell 34:35

I love it. What's one business platform that has changed your life?


Craig Alexander 34:41

Well, certainly the AI elements are doing more of that tomorrow but not enough experience yet for me to say that. But you know, certainly chat tools are becoming more and more of industry changing technology. Um, communication tools like Slack is such an important one for an agency and a any company that's communication focused like we are. So, I think communications tools like Slack are really valuable. But, you know, asked me tomorrow and I'm gonna have a, an AI resource that might be better.


Russ Harlow 35:23

They're still not too good at making that emotional connection and in the chat, GPT realm and everything else. So, they still got a lot to learn.


Craig Alexander 35:31

Well, don't we all? Yeah.


Russ Harlow 35:35

All right, this is my personal favorite, because I build my book list off of this, asking our guests what's your favorite business book or maybe impacted your business the most or you as a business owner?


Craig Alexander 35:47

Challenge Brand Marketing. Is that shameless?


Russ Harlow 35:50

Shameless, but I have no problem with okay,


Craig Alexander 35:53

so this this book is, was, you know, five years in the making, but, and when you read it, you can read it in, you know, over lunch. So, it's, it's not, this is not a book that's going to, you know, you need three international flights to get through it. However, it does represent a careers worth of thinking. And so, if what we spoke about over the last, whatever 45 minutes makes sense to you as a listener and a business owner and entrepreneur, then I think the book challenger brand marketing will help to, to focus you in on some of that direction. So shamelessly challenger brand marketing.


Dana Dowdell 36:39

Fair enough, Ross and I are always plugging our own businesses to the podcast. So it's, it's only fair. Alright, now this is my favorite question. When did you feel like you had made it?


Craig Alexander 36:52

Since, well, I have never been an author until now. So that's to be able to say that is pretty cool. I've had some opportunities, because of some of the clients that we've had to do some interesting things I've been able to play baseball at Oracle Park and San Francisco, there's the things that are on a personal level are just great. And just last weekend, I think was something really important. And so you now know that I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area. And that's where we are. In, in my neighborhood, I live in the county north of San Francisco called Moran. And in my neighborhood is one of the world's largest, most famous prisons, San Quentin. And last weekend, I had the opportunity to go into San Quentin, and play softball against inmates. And what might be one of the most amazing afternoons I've ever had. And, and the idea of, of course, of going into someplace like that is frightening and exciting and anxiety laden. But on the field, had a great experience, great game could not have been more welcoming. This is a group of guys who have spent months and months earning the right to be able to play an outside group of guys in a softball game, recognizing that just any slip up and it's gone for the rest of the year, they won't have this opportunity to do it again. So because of that they are so on the other side of welcoming and embracing and we had a game was great. After the game, everybody gathered around the pitcher's mound, and we spent 1520 minutes as the inmates went around, saying how much they appreciated our coming in and what this meant to them. And so you left there feeling like now maybe, maybe this was a difference maker something made a difference for these guys. And anyway, so I don't know if that has anything to do with making it but having that opportunity was worthy of the story. So, I thought I'd share it.


Dana Dowdell 39:21

I just have to say I have like chills right now because I think it goes back to the very beginning of our conversation where it's human to human.


Craig Alexander 39:31

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Right. That's, you know, nice, nice tie in for sure.


Dana Dowdell 39:38

Like, if you like they get branded as a horrible person, and you know, whatever, all these things, but at the end of the day, it's human to human and being able to show up as a human and allow them to show up as humans is a beautiful thing.


Craig Alexander 39:50

Yeah, yeah, I think you got it. Exactly.


Russ Harlow 39:55

Well, I mean, you're here and I so I know it didn't end up like the Longest Yard you know? Can we switch?


Craig Alexander 40:01

No, it was glorious. It was it was a great experience. Yeah.


Russ Harlow 40:05

Oh man. Well, I've really enjoyed this quick. Where can people find you and connect with you?


Craig Alexander 40:11

Yeah, so a couple of different ways. But certainly the most obvious way is through our website Gumes Gu ma s, which is John Gomez founded the agency in 1984, nearly 40 year old agency, we are So, g u m a I challenge your brand marketing book, you can find on Amazon, which by the way, international, I'll say bestseller. So, it was the number one best seller. But since some people bought books in South Africa and in Brazil, and in London, we can say it's International, which is nice. I love


Russ Harlow 40:50

that. We do that with the podcast, too. It's okay. Yeah.



It's a global brand. It's Just Business. And so, yeah, so Amazon, Challenger Brand, Marketing, and my email address. So absolutely. If you'd like to connect with me, please do see


Russ Harlow 41:11

All right, we'll have those things link in our show notes as well so people can connect with you. Same with the book. I'm hoping it's on Audible yet. Is it on Audible?



It is not on Audible yet.


Russ Harlow 41:22

Okay. I'll be looking for it. Because that's where I get all my books. I can get it while I'm driving. Standby.



I'll just I'll just read it to you, Russ. Just pick an afternoon. I'll just read it to you. So make


Russ Harlow 41:31

me hold you to that. Well, thank you, Craig, for being here. If you want to learn more about, you know, being a challenger brand and challenger brand marketing and how you can take on the gorillas in your industry. This is where you need to be this is where you need to connect. Thank you for being here with us and sharing with our listeners, Craig, I want to thank our listeners for being here and taking the time and listening and sharing this with people who need to hear it because you're not the only one. Take this if you had anything of value. I want you to share it with somebody else who needs to hear the same thing. Because remember, it's not personal. It's just business.