The 19 Marketing Podcast by Orange Label

Communication Tips All Brand Leaders Need with Author Richard Newman Part One

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August 22, 2023

There are three different levels of connection: data, feelings and values. In our latest podcast, Author and UK Body Talk CEO Richard Newman reviews these three levels of connection and shares the one that can be most meaningful for brands to make an impact on their audience. From studying in a Tibetan monastery to teaching brand leaders how to better communicate, Richard Newman shares the principles he’s learned throughout his career journey on communication techniques to help brands build meaningful connections.

[00:00:00] Rochelle Reiter:This is The 19, a 19 minute or less podcast that brings you marketing insights aimed at improving lives presented by Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for wellness brands that grow when their customers do. Hello, and welcome to The 19. I’m Rochelle Reiter, President of Orange Label. There are brands that we are proud to associate ourselves with. This may be because they offer a cool factor, a higher quality product, or have values that align with our own For whatever reason, there is some sort of human connection that draws us in and builds brand affinity. Today’s Guest, Richard Newman, is a bestselling author and CEO who specializes in communication, storytelling, and influence. In this two part podcast, Richard shares how brands and people can make human connections with their audience all the way from the UK we’re so excited to welcome Richard Newman. Richard, welcome to the 19. It’s so great to have you on our show today.

[00:01:01] Richard Newman: Thanks so much, Rochelle, for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

[00:01:04] Rochelle Reiter: your work, intersects communication, storytelling, and personal presence, could you tell us how you became interested in these areas and how they’ve shaped your career?

[00:01:18] Richard Newman: Sure. So,this for me has been really a long journey over the last four decades. what happened essentially is that, what I remember from my childhood is when I was, uh, four years old, nearly five years old, my parents moved house and I went to this new area. and so I was getting to know, new kids at the school and I distinctly remember having a big challenge in trying to build any friendships that I would be in this tiny little sort of kindergarten sort of, uh, place trying to befriend children around me. And I felt like I was living in this glass bubble where I wasn’t able to connect. I was a step behind other people and I didn’t really understand why. And so over a period of, A few years, since then, I quickly realized that I was shy as a child. I would often be introduced as the shy child. And, I, later in my twenties maybe realized that I’m very introverted. So there’s this big sort of spectrum between intro introvert and extrovert. I’m very introverted and actually to the point where I went on this, I went on a personal development workshop in London, and the guy running it, he held up a form at the front and he said, um, a few people haven’t arrived, here today. And here’s a form of someone who would never show up to an event like this. Look at how introverted this person is. And I said, you’re holding my form. And he said, no, really? I said, yes, that’s me. And so, uh, I quickly realized that, but it wasn’t actually until last year that I was diagnosed. as being autistic, which was sort of a big surprise to me, but also a revelation of suddenly understanding. How I’d always felt like I was almost from the outside looking in on communication, trying to figure out where’s the on-ramp, how do I take part in these conversations? And so this led to a fascination in my early years of trying to figure out communication. And so from the age of about. 16 years old, I started reading books on every type of communication around body language, tone of voice, stage, presence, gravitas, anything I could learn and read something like around 200 books or more in the period of about five or six years. And, meantime, when my, all my, all my friends were going off to university, I decided I would do something else. And I ended up volunteering to be a teacher, overseas where I went to. quite a remote place in the foothills of the Himalayas where I was living in a Tibetan monastery teaching English to Tibetan monks, and they’d never had a teacher there before. So what I didn’t realize, what I was surprised by is when I arrived there, they didn’t speak a single word of English. They didn’t know how to say hello in English, nothing at all. And so I was in this position of living with them completely cut off from the outside world in the, this was before the days of the internet when they didn’t have mobile phones. if someone wanted to send me a letter, it took them six weeks to send a letter from the UK to this monastery and six weeks to get a reply. So that’s three months to get a reply from anybody. So I was there living with them, communicating entirely non-verbally using body language and tone of voice to express myself and communicating lessons with them. And by the end of six months, we managed to get to a place where they could speak a good conversation in English. And I learned how to speak Nepali back to them, which happened to be the most easy to learn language, of the area. And I came back to the UK just fascinated by this thinking, wow, there’s so much you can do with nonverbal communication. I studied acting at a London acting school for three years. Learning more about how to sit, stand, breathe, move, and speak in a way that you can connect with someone on stage and inspire and or engage an audience. And then just as a hobby, I set up my business. And so I was, getting a haircut one day talking to my hairdresser about things I was doing, and he said, would you teach my hair, hairdressers, how to communicate with their clients? And I’ll give you a free haircut. And I said, okay. And I went and did it and they loved it. And then pretty soon someone called me up and said, I’m the head of an engineering company. And,I’ve just had my hair cut today. My hairdresser said, you’re this communication expert. Could you teach our team? And here I am, 23 years later after that free haircut and my team of trained about 120,000 people. We work all the way around the world. We get about 2000 bookings per year for people who want to work with us. so it’s been a phenomenal journey.

[00:05:21] Rochelle Reiter: What a great story. that’s incredible. So let’s talk about brands. So how do you think brands can use storytelling to engage and influence people?

[00:05:31] Richard Newman: the key piece, if we start with what people are doing wrong, the key piece that I see with, brands and businesses, failing to achieve this through storytelling is that what they tend to do is that they will claim that they as a company or their product or their service, Is amazing and it’s gonna come into your life and fix things for you and make your life better. And then we get resistant to that because what they’re doing in terms of storytelling, there are archetypes that you have these different type of characters that show up in stories. And as soon as they’re doing that, they are suggesting that they are this heroic figure. a heroic brand, heroic, product or service that will make your life better. Now, if you think about it, what does that make the person buying it? If you are buying that, it means that you are acknowledging that you are a victim in your life. You’re a victim, and you need this heroic brand to step into your life and save you. And people don’t like being felt, led to feel that they’re a victim. They also don’t want to feel like they’re the villain. As well because, the brand could almost be suggesting, your life’s in a mess because of you, so let let us come in there with a product or service that will save you. We don’t like that. What we actually want, and this is how storytelling can be so engaging for a brand. That they position you as the hero at the center of your own life story. And they speak to you through that and they say, look, you know in your life you have challenges. You’ve got goals that you want to achieve. Of course you have. And that’s what life’s all about. And that’s the kind of story that’s going on in our minds every single day. We wake up in the morning, we think, okay, I’ve got certain challenges and concerns. I’ve got things I’d like to achieve. And we go on this journey of this story. And so brands can connect with you, not by being a hero that steps in and says, we’ll take over for you. Instead by being the mentor. So the mentor is that character that shows up. If we take the classic example that people worldwide would recognize, let’s say we take Harry Potter. In Harry Potter. Harry has challenges. he’s living under the stairs. Nobody likes him. And, he’s treated very poorly. And,his goal ultimately is, that sense of purpose that he wants. And then he figures out he’s a wizard. He learns about Voldemort and his purpose becomes to overcome the dark side of the force, if you like. And so he’s going on that journey. And then he has mentors. That step in. So he has the mentoring from Dumbledore, and he gets mentoring from Serious Black that lead him towards where he wants to be.

[00:07:49] Rochelle Reiter: Mm-hmm.

[00:07:50] Richard Newman: And if you take the example of Sirius Black, he loves him so much so dearly. He’s the person that he loves most on the earth. Partly because that mentoring approach, Sirius doesn’t say, I’m gonna step in and make your life better. He helps him make his own life better. And so that’s where brands can do this. If they position themselves as a mentor saying, look, if you need a little something, Here and there. That’s gonna help you get you from your challenges to your, where you want to get. We understand you. We know who you are. We know where you’re going, and if you want us to give you something that’s gonna help you on your journey. Here we are.

[00:08:22] Rochelle Reiter: I, I love that. I love that analogy too. So what does it look like to have effective communication between a brand and its target audience? Can you share a little bit about that?

[00:08:33] Richard Newman: Yeah, so I’m sure that anybody listening to this podcast will know that, a brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. And so if you think about that, the key piece to remember is how do people feel? And the quickest way to generate a feeling, with people is to get ’em to connect with you, but also get ’em to connect with your story and some kind of emotion. And so communication essentially breaks down in any situation, breaks down to know, do, and feel. So you can think about anything that you’re gonna say in an interaction, whether that’s through marketing or it’s through a day-to-day meeting. You can think about it through no, do feel, what do you want them to know? What do you want them to do and how do you want them to feel about it? And loads of people approach meetings thinking, I know what you, I want you to know and I know what I want you to do. And that’s all they’ve thought about. And the people feel like they’re being told off or they feel like they are. Being criticized in some way or they just feel disappointed and so on. So it all needs to be focused on how do I want that person to feel about our brand, about our company products and services and everything needed to be, needs to be targeted towards that particular feeling because that way that’s what they’re really going to communicate. and you can get there. Much more easily through the power of story. So for example, even if I say to you, Rochelle, I’d like to take you through a spreadsheet of bullet points about my company. Instantly there’s a sense of, oh goodness, I feel bored already.

[00:09:54] Rochelle Reiter: Here we go again. Yeah.

[00:09:56] Richard Newman: Yeah. Whereas if I say to you, Rochelle, I’d like to talk about my company. can I just tell you a story? Instantly you think, yes, of course. Thank goodness. Someone’s finally gonna tell me a story and a different part of your brain lights up and engages and therefore you are much more likely to want to connect the key behind that as well, in terms of getting a brand to connect with its audience, it’s something that’s so important right now is trust. Trust is critical. And in order to be trustworthy in communication, there is a key to make sure that pe there’s not just that sense of polish, that maybe people years ago thought, if we just look really polished, then maybe we’ll get away with things. But these days it’s just critical in your communication that you’re honest with people. I think it was Warren Buffet who said it takes a lifetime to build your reputation in five minutes to ruin it. And if you do something wrong, say we did something wrong. We are looking into it, and we are here and we are listening and we’re gonna make things, right. So being honest, apologizing when things go wrong and deeply listening as well. If a brand can listen to people, not just talk to them and say, we want you to think this and believe this, but actually listen, then people feel like they are a part of the conversation. They feel like they’re part of the story. They think, wow, they’re taking me on a journey. I feel like I’m part of this, which we can do now more than ever because you’ve got social media where people express what they feel about brands very vocally, very openly every day.

[00:11:14] Rochelle Reiter: So you mentioned social media, which brings me to my next question, which is how can people, incorporate human connection in this digital world? So everything’s digital, everything’s online. We’re seeing less in person. How do you think that they can really make a connection when everything’s going digital?

[00:11:32] Richard Newman: Yeah, it’s a great question. So I was actually booked to go and work at a digital marketing conference, and this was a few years ago. And there was, maybe 10 different speakers, on the bill for the day. And they put me first, I. And I think that they put me first ’cause they thought, oh, Rich is an energizing speaker. He’ll wake everybody else up and then we’ll get on with the digital marketing. And so I was approaching this thinking, I don’t wanna be just a warmup speaker. I really want to engage with people, but my area is all about human to human communication. I thought, what can I do? And I thought, I know I will theme my talk all around. People buy from people. And so I talked about that sense of the human connection that has to be there no matter what type of marketing you do, people buy from people. And I was so delighted that I came off the stage. The next person came up and, every single person between my talk and lunchtime referred to my talk at some point during theirs. So they said, as Richards was saying earlier, people really buy from people. And so I thought, I’m really pleased that I’ve threaded that idea. Through for them. But if you really want to have that connection, people buying from people, then we need to think about the different levels of connection that you can go through when we think about, well, how am I connecting with another human being? So the three levels I talk about with this is about data, feelings, and values. So if we are just having a superficial connection with someone, then it’s all about data. if say a billboard gives you information, that’s nice, but I’m not really connected with you. It’s just information. The same goes if we go into a coffee shop and we say, can I have this? What’s the price? You pay for it, you leave. It’s a transaction. There’s no real connection. When we go down to the next level and there’s an emotional connection that happens, like maybe, you know, if you interact with someone in a coffee shop, you ask them, how’s the day and what’s happening for them, and there’s just some kind of emotional connection. Then suddenly you feel connected. Same goes with any other kind of digital marketing. If it lifts your emotion in some way, that’s great. The key piece, if you really want the connection is to connect with somebody’s values. Now, the simplest way to understand what someone’s values are is, if you say to somebody,would you like to do this thing with me, where this will make you money and it’s gonna save you time? And the person says, no. I’m not going to do it. The reason they’re not gonna do it is because it conflicts with one of their values. So, uh, it might conflict with like work-life balance or their health, or putting family first in their life. Something along those lines. And when brands are really effective, marketing is effective. When human to human connection is, is effective, is when you are really connecting with somebody’s values. As a brand, rather than necessarily thinking, we are gonna have these values and off we go. It’s worthwhile thinking. Who are the people who are actually setting out to serve? What are their values? What are the things they care about that is not related to money and time? That is something much more deep about principles, about how they want to live their life. Because if you connect with one of those, when they wake up in the morning, they think. I want this brand to be part of my life because that’s who I am as a human being. So connecting with those values in some way, reaffirming those values, mentioning them is a key way to keep that human connection alive.

[00:14:33] Rochelle Reiter: That’s fantastic. we work on a lot of brand values for clients, so it’s a conversation between them and our agency and our people and really connecting with what they stand for is. at the core of who they are. Um, so also with your deep understanding of communication and storytelling, how do you see the emergence of AI impacting these fields? it’s everywhere. Everybody’s talking about ai. Is it gonna end the world? Is it gonna help us? Is it gonna create more efficiencies? what do you think about it? What’s your perspective?

[00:15:04] Richard Newman: so this is something that I’ve been anticipating, if you like, for more than a decade at this point. I remember, listening to a guy, talk who was fascinating. He and I were both, teaching the same group and he got up and he said, everything that can be automated, Will be automated and everything that can be known, every piece of knowledge will eventually be online. And so what value are you going to have in the future? So think about the job that you have. If any part of it can be automated, it will be automated. That’s the inevitability of business. Anything that you know where in the past. If you knew things, you were at an advantage, you could offer something ’cause you said, Hey, I know this, and other people don’t know it, that’s of value. Everything that can be known will eventually be, on the internet and hopefully, at a place where it’s trustworthy information, as well that you can get. So that, so the last piece that remains is your ability as a human being to take the knowledge you have and apply it in a more effective way. Can be done with AI and your ability as a human being to connect with another human being in a way that AI cannot. And so it’s really that last piece of understanding your ability as a human to be a human. And so again, we come back to this idea of not going down the line of being too polished. So that idea of that perfect Instagram profile that people sometimes look at where they go, let me airbrush every shot and make my life look wonderful. We know that’s not really real. That’s the sort of thing that maybe we can expect from ai, although I expect AI will get intelligent enough to mimic whatever looks the most human like form

[00:16:35] Rochelle Reiter: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:36] Richard Newman: you know, structure on social media in different places. But I come back to, Robert McKee. Now, Robert McKee is the godfather of storytelling in Hollywood. His students have won more than 60 Academy awards, 200 Golden Globes and so on, and he always said, When it comes to storytelling, that there is not a formula. There is a form by which he means a structure, but there’s not a formula. And so if AI goes down the route of saying, okay, here’s a formula of what makes an amazing sales letter, here’s a formula of what makes an amazing brand, an amazing story, and so on, we could be in a position where we might look at it and think, okay, I can see where you’re going with that. And there’s some interest in that, but it doesn’t feel real. And what we are looking for is something that feels like a real tangible human connection. And so I would always encourage people to say that if you want to be relevant and important in the future, working on your human to human ability to connect and communicate with people is the place where you’re going to stand out. Let other things be automated. Let all the knowledge be online, but make sure that you are able to connect with another human being. And, and there’s a chemistry and there’s a sense of a. A human to human wavelength that happens when we are in a room with somebody else, which is, possible to replicate in some ways like we’re doing now with virtual

[00:17:51] Rochelle Reiter: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:51] Richard Newman: And it’s possible to, to replicate sometimes when you’re not with people. But it’s better if you’re actually in the room with someone getting so good at those skills that people would always rather be with you than with something that is artificial. Because, humans love to be together. We love to be in tribes. We don’t like being alone. We would rather be around others who we feel safe with, who we trust, who we like, who we want to do business with. And so if you engender that sense of trust with people and you deserve it, then you’re always going to be that step ahead of the way that people feel. ’cause if you think about how people feel about ai, there’s tremendous fear. People have this tremendous sense of distrust about it. So if you go to a position of being a human who is trustworthy, then you’re gonna stand out against ai.

[00:18:31] Rochelle Reiter: Yeah, I think that’s true in marketing, but I think it’s true just in life, right? In general and being with people,

[00:18:38] Richard Newman: Mm.

[00:18:39] Rochelle Reiter: Families,

[00:18:40] Richard Newman: Yeah.

[00:18:40] Rochelle Reiter: it goes beyond that human connection. So, um, how can creating a personal connection set a brand apart from others? And you touched on this a little bit earlier, but could you share any examples of brands that have done this exceptionally well?

[00:18:54] Richard Newman: Yeah. So if you wanna look at a simple example that hopefully everybody would recognize thinking about the difference between a personal connection and a brand, just go onto, uh, social media and look at how many people follow Richard Branson. So Richard Branson say on Instagram has got about 5 million followers. Then go and look at how many people connect with Virgin. His company on Instagram, and he has 25 times the number of followers than his company has. Well, his company’s got thousands and thousands of people with hundreds of brands that he’s got underneath that, and there’s only like 200,000 followers versus his 5 million. And so that’s what we engage with. We actually engage with a person. why is that happening for Richard Branson? what he’s done throughout his career. Is that he has told stories. He’s written some terrific books that include incredible stories about what he’s done and the challenges he’s been through, and he’s shared those in interviews and so on. And so people have a connection with him in a way that they don’t with a brand if you like. And, for me, I also find, this is true where,I’ll often find we’ll be working with a company and, the reason they’ve decided to work with us is they go, oh yeah, the guy who lived in the monastery. Let’s, yeah, we wanna work with him. And, um, and even if, say, if members of my team have been working with a client, for months or even years, sometimes before I show up and do an event for them, when I walk through the door, they go, that’s the guy who lived in the monastery. ’cause they,

[00:20:13] Rochelle Reiter: They remember that.

[00:20:14] Richard Newman: the rest of my team have told that story as part of the brand, as part of getting to know us. to give you an example of how we’ve taken that then for a client. we always talk to people about what is your story? What is the reason you do what you do? Because that’s the power of Richard Branson’s story. That’s the power of the monk’s story that I tell. And so I always say to people, why do you do what you do? Tell that story. ’cause that’s what we really care about. That’s how we know if we’re gonna like you, trust you, do business with you. And so there was a lady who was working for a pharmaceutical company.. Where, she was in a medical science liaison role, which means that it’s a non-sales role, non-commercial. She’s just there to discuss the latest science with the best key opinion leaders, and she was working in oncology, so dealing with cancer specialists. And, she and her whole team were saying, it’s so hard to get in the room and get anyone to trust us or give us five minutes of their time. We’ll show up. They’ve said, we’ve got a 30 minute meeting with them. And they’ll say, okay, you’ve got three minutes. What are you gonna tell me? And so we said to her, why do you do what you do? And she said, I haven’t got a story out. There’s no story I could tell. I said, just tell me for a moment. Why do you do what you do? And she said,when I was, five years old, I lost my grandparents to cancer. And since then I’ve lost two other. Members of my family to cancer as well. That’s why I’ve been working in this profession for the last 20 years. I’ve dedicated all of my time and energy to finding the latest data about cancer treatment so I can help as many people as possible survive and thrive despite what their diagnosis may have been. And we stopped her and said, that’s an extraordinary story. She said, really? I’d never thought about sharing that. And I, I said, if you share why you do what you do, people will be much more compelled to have the next stage of the conversation. Because they now know why you’re sharing data rather than thinking this is dull data. There’s a purpose behind it. So that’s the way that people can just keep creating that personal connection is let people know truly why you do what you do.

[00:22:03] Rochelle Reiter: Do you find that people are hesitant to think their story is special or different when you talk to them?

[00:22:07] Richard Newman: Absolutely. I think people in general just think, oh, well there’s celebrities out there who’ve got these amazing stories about who they are and so on. And,it’s just about digging in and really be, being honest and being willing to be vulnerable, which, Brené Brown has done such a great job of opening people up to that idea of, just go out there and be vulnerable and tell your story. And so part of it is that sense of, but if I share this, Is this as important or exciting as other people’s stories? The great thing is it’s your story and we’re not actually looking for something that is unique. You don’t have to go off and live in a monastery or do anything like that. but that happens to connect with my purpose. My purpose is to help people find their voice. That’s always been what it is. That’s why I went to the monastery and so on. So if you just think, why do you really care about what you do? And sometimes even people say, I’m not sure if I really do care about being the project manager of X company, and so on. And I’ll say to them, okay, so come back to your values. When, what is your way of treating people? How are you gonna treat people, and why do you want to treat them that way? And if you share that, then people again, get to know how you are motivated, what your intentions are, and how you’re likely to show up for them. And that’s what they really care about, is that it’s just, again, connecting with those values, connecting with the truth of who you are. And that’s what what makes them want to be in business with you or even build a, a friendship or a personal relationship with you because they understand the core of you.

[00:23:34] Rochelle Reiter: Thank you for listening to The 19 with Author and CEO of UK Body Talk, Richard Newman. For more insights on brand communication, visit To learn more about Orange Label’s strategy, data analytics, media, social content and design services, visit A special thank you goes out to our contributors Creative Services Director, Kelsey Phillips. Copy and Content Strategist Ashley Andreen and Design and Sound Director Micah Panzich. Be sure to subscribe to The 19 Marketing Podcast by Orange Label on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast and Spotify, and leave us a review!

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