We were lucky to catch up with Mike Jones recently and have shared our conversation below.
Mike, appreciate you joining us today. Let’s start with a fun one – what’s something you believe that most people in your industry (or in general) disagree with?
For being an industry tasked with communication, the marketing industry by-and-large full of skeptical people who don’t believe that there is intrinsic truth behind the brands they advertise and bring to market.
That is not at all what I believe (nor my business partners and staff). We believe that every brand rests on a foundation of truth – aspects about the business, it’s culture, people, worldview, context, and history – that can’t be just made up or fabricated from thin air. These truths, when discovered and defined well, produce a brand that is lasting, real, genuine, and relatable. The business transforms from just another trend-chaser to an organization that stands on fundamental beliefs, with a purpose that transcends mere profitability and revenue growth.
I find more and more that this belief we have – that brands should be and can be based on a fundamental, true identity that is real – is not how many marketers see the world. And while I’d love for more of them to come to understand what we see and experience as true, it’s okay. We’ll stand out, building brands that last while they all chase fading trends and buzzwords-of-the-day.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Remarkable brands require authenticity and a die-hard commitment to values & purpose. I passionately preach these beliefs as author of the book, “You Are Remarkable: How To Unlock Your Authentic Brand To Win Loyal Customers” as well as the two podcasts I host: Resoundcast and AZ Brandcast.
I also work directly with clients to unlock their remarkable brands through my award-winning brand consultancy, Resound – established in 2009. My consultancy provides brand development and marketing services to B2B companies in the professional services, financial services, and tech industries. Our services include branding, marketing strategy, video production, content marketing, and website development. (I also founded an apparel brand devoted to American political history, called Taftly. But that’s a whole other story.)
I have strongly supported the Arizona entrepreneurial community through my co-directorship of Phoenix Startup Week, co-founding the startup-supporting non-profit Thrive PHX, and serving on the board of Conscious Capitalism Arizona. I also support the non-profit sector in Arizona as a Partner in Social Venture Partners and serving on the board of directors of The Center for Habilitation.
In recognition of the work I’ve done, I have been named one of the state’s top business leaders under the age of 40 by the Phoenix Business Journal (and previously as a 35-Under-35 entrepreneurial award from the Arizona Republic).
I’m a born-and-raised Arizona native living in the very sunny vale of Mesa, AZ with my wife and three kids. If you want to connect, Twitter’s usually where you’ll find me – @remarkamike.
Can you talk to us about how your side-hustle turned into something more.
My current brand consultancy – Resound – started as a side-hustle over 13 years ago, when I was doing freelance graphic design and marketing for various clients outside of my day job. Technically I’d been doing some kind of freelance work like this since I was about 19 but in 2009 I got together with two friends who also had a passion for helping businesses be more creative and we started Resound. On day one I rolled my freelance clients under the new company umbrella but for all three of us it remained a part-time side-hustle for a couple more years.
At the beginning of 2012 I was still working full time for a growing marketing agency while also working on my consultancy with my partners during the nights and weekends. It was becoming a lot – putting in nearly 30–40 hours a week on Resound on top of the full-time job.
I remember sitting down with my wife and having a very frank conversation about how much time I was putting into these two jobs and how it wasn’t sustainable. We agreed: lets give it 6 more months and if I can’t get enough clients, we’ll wind down the side hustle and focus on the day job.
Amazingly, we landed two pretty decent-sized projects right near the end of those 6 months with enough cashflow in the coming year to sustain me – though it didn’t quite match my salary at the day job. But it was enough to take the plunge.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there but it was certainly the jumping off point. We’ve continued to grow and mature as a business but I look back on those early days with fondness for the lessons I learned about perseverance, resiliency, patience, and risk-taking.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
My number one lesson learned over the years managing teams is this: meet one-on-one with everyone that directly reports to you every single week, no matter what.
Maintaining great teams is all about developing trust between yourself and those you manage – you need to trust them and they need to trust you. Without that trust, there cannot be true teamwork.
To build that trust though, requires time together, one-on-one. As a manager, I need to give my team time with me. Without that, they cannot build the trust in me (and I in them) to really grow our business.
This was a lesson I first learned mentally through the wisdom of Mark Horstman, in his book The Effective Manager. And as soon as I and our other managers started implementing one-on-ones with our teams, we saw an immediate, positive impact. We started getting more productive, more agile, and tighter as a company. And yes, it revealed weaknesses and ‘bad fits’ that needed to be dealt with so we could really grow.
If you manage a team, this is the number one piece of advice I would give. And if you change nothing else, this WILL positively impact your team – their morale, productivity, passion, and camaraderie. I promise.
- Website: https://resoundcreative.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/remarkamike
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/remarkamike/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/remarkamike
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/resoundcreative
- Other: https://remarkabrand.com – my book and course on branding https://remarkamike.com – my personal website