Minter Dialogue with Marty Neumeier

To start off this new year, and just before I get back into the swing of brand new episodes for 2024, I wanted to re-release this wonderful conversation with Marty Neumeier. Where so many people are needing to belong and find meaningfulness, working for a meaningful brand is one way to find fulfilment. Marty is a world recognised expert on branding, best-selling author of books such as “The Brand Gap,” “The Brand Flip” and “MetaSkills.” At the time of recording this interview, he had recently published a ‘business thriller’ called, “Scramble, How agile strategy can build epic brands in record time.” He’s also director and CEO of the Liquid branding agency. In this conversation with Marty, we talked about the importance of having a designer mindset in business and the challenge of building a superior brand in today’s tech-infused world. N.B. This MDE314 episode was first published in 2019 here.

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Music credit: The jingle at the beginning of the show is courtesy of my friend, Pierre Journel, author of the Guitar Channel. And, the new sign-off music is “A Convinced Man,” a song I co-wrote and recorded with Stephanie Singer back in the late 1980s (please excuse the quality of the sound!).

Full transcript via

SUMMARY KEYWORDS: brand, marty, customer, company, design, level, minter, idea, work, call, market, great, medium, london, point, feel, advertising agencies, tribe, coming, ceo

SPEAKERS: Marty Neumeier, Minter Dial

Marty Neumeier 00:00

And once you look at it from that point of view, all the work around branding changes because now you realize, you have to know what people are thinking. Customer actually does count. It’s not you just broadcasting your idea and picking up as many customers as you can you actually have to get inside their heads and help them become who they want to be.

Minter Dial  00:22

Hello and a very warm welcome to this special episode of The Minter Dialogue podcast. My name is Minter Dial, and I’m your host for this podcast, a proud member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. For more information or to check out other shows on the network, please go and visit their site, So before I get back into the swing of my brand new episodes for 2024, I wanted to revisit a few important episodes, including this wonderful conversation with Marty Neumeier. Where so many people are needing a sense of belonging and to find meaningfulness, working for a meaningful brand is one way to find fulfillment. Marty is a world recognized expert on branding, a best-selling author of books, such as The Brand Gap, The Brand Flip, and Metaskills. At the time of recording this interview back in 2019, he had recently published a business thriller called, “Scramble, how agile strategy can build epic brands in record time.” Marty is also Director and CEO of the Liquid branding agency. In this conversation with Marty, we talked about the importance of having a designer mindset in business, and the challenge of building a superior brand in today’s Tech-infused world. You’ll find all the show notes on And please consider to drop in your rating and review. And don’t forget to subscribe to catch all the future episodes. Now for the show.


Marty Neumeier it’s great to have you back on the show. So, we are doing this, you are in California, I’m in London. And I wanted to have you back on the show to make for a better reading in 2019. So, Marty, for those of you don’t know you, I consider you a guru, an expert on branding and also on design. You’re the author of many best-selling books, including “The Brand Gap.” And you also wrote a book called, “The Designful Company.” Your last book, which was the subject of our last podcast was Scramble, the sort of business thriller that you put out. So, great to have you back on the show and remind us who you are, Marty.

Marty Neumeier 02:48

Thanks Minter. It is great to be back with you. Yeah, so I work for a company called Liquid Agency in Silicon Valley. But my most of my work is theorizing, writing books, leading workshops for clients. Just getting out there and spreading the gospel of brand.

Minter Dial  03:10

So, how would you describe the world of branding and how it’s different today than it was in the past?

Marty Neumeier 03:26

Well, I would say, over the last 15 years, what we’re seeing is a deepening of the understanding that we had, during that time when, when we, we redefine the meaning of a brand, because you know, brand used to be, you know, used to be a logo, right? A brand, you know, can you make the brand bigger with something I hear a lot? I love the package design, can you make the brand bigger? Eventually I started saying no, I can’t. That’s not that’s a different project. But I can make the logo bigger. So, brand is not a logo. These are the kinds of things we had to explain. 15 years ago, brand is not a logo, it’s not a product. It’s not a company. It’s not a strategy. It’s not the sum of all impressions. It’s not a promise, those things are all involved. But a brand is something that customers create in their minds about you. So, you can say it’s kind of your reputation. And once you look at it from that point of view, all the work around branding changes because now you realize you have to know what people are thinking. The customer actually does count. It’s not you just broadcasting your idea and picking up as many customers as you can you actually have to get inside their heads and help them become who they want to be through your product or service or company. So, that was my first book the brand gap redefined branding that way. But what’s happened in the meantime is social media got in The Act and really made that true. So, now customers have way more control. And when they decide what a brand is, they tell everybody they all have, you know, are developed code of setting a brand about you your company. So, that makes it even more critical that you get this right. And it often requires that you change everything about how you build a brand.

Minter Dial  05:22

So, when you go into your customers and or make speeches, do you find that this is still there’s resistance to this thought still in America, in the companies? You I mean, because you’re obviously at sort of the heart of so much change out in San Francisco area? Do Is it still something that people don’t get? And if so, then how do you make them understand it better?

Marty Neumeier 05:51

I think they get it a lot better than I did. Because in the beginning, I would get a lot of pushback saying no, no, no, that’s not what a brand is, you know, it’s all about logos and ad campaigns. And that, you know, got a lot of pushback from advertising agencies, because they could see if this were true, then their business is no longer valid. You know, so got pushback from them, I got pushback from the people that hire advertising agencies, usually marketing directors, who didn’t want to see that didn’t want that to be true. But now it’s pretty much everybody just sort of like their eyes are open. And they’re, they’re absorbing the information. They’re trying to understand what to do about it. But I don’t have the problem of convincing them that a brand is not a logo anymore. That’s that work is done. So, I’m happy, happy for that.

Minter Dial  06:38

So, if we understand that brand is so much more. And of course, this is where you and I, you know, we’re meeting of the minds and 100% enjoy that perspective. The challenge then for brand marketers today is what how do you describe it? If we now get it? How do you do it?

Marty Neumeier 06:58

Well, it’s a big challenge. The challenge is, how do you get a complex organization to execute a simple idea? You know, because, you know, organizations are full of people. So, that’s a problem right there. You’ve got people with different opinions, different levels of skills, personal agendas, all kinds of things are going on. So, how do you manage to find the one idea that’s going to separate you from the competition and compel the right customers to join your brand. And so, what happens is, because there’s a lot of people and companies complex with a lot of different goals, the simplicity gets lost, right? It just sort of dissipates, and then you end up kind of falling to the average. And pretty much you start to look like your competition, in the from the view of, of customers. In the companies from the companies view, often. They see themselves as very different. Because they’re, they’re up close. They’re inside it so they can see the differences. But from the outside, customers have difficulty seeing a difference unless it’s very, very obvious. So, that’s what you have to do is find that obvious, compelling idea and execute that relentlessly. And then evolve it over time, because strategies decay, you have to keep refreshing them.

Minter Dial  08:25

To what extent would you say that the agencies have been part of the problem, then? I mean, you mentioned a little while earlier, that they rejected these kinds of notions before, do you, do you feel that they’re now in a better position? And if so, how are they in a better position?

Marty Neumeier 08:39

Yes, I do. I always knew they would figure it out. Because they’re smart people. They’re in a better position, because they now realize it’s not just about TV ads anymore. And, in fact, all the media choices that they have, are pretty fragmented. So, they have to figure out how valuable in some other way than just charging for, you know, media that doesn’t actually deliver very much because it is pretty measurable when you do it that way. So, you know, smart companies are figuring out that it’s not about marketing, it’s about mattering. It’s like how do you make the company matter to its customers, and the skills inside an advertising agency are formidable. You know, you have people that can really get to the crux of something and talk about it and get the word out. So, the problem is, is how to charge for that because it’s not so simple anymore. If it’s, it just used to be you know, 15% of the media costs, which had its own problems, obviously, because the foxes in the hen house, when you say to an advertising agency, you figure out where we need to be, you know, and so what we have to be everywhere. It’s going to cost $5 million a month. So, that’s all changed. It’s made more difficult but it’s pretty exciting. Now when you see some of the things advertising agencies are doing, they’re, they’re working in areas that you wouldn’t have conceived of before. They’re coming up with all kinds of events and things that that were difficult to charge money for. Right? So, you put on a huge event or a stunt or something that gets a whole tribe of people involved. Well, so then you got to go to the client say, well, it’s going to cost you, you know, this is a $5 million project. And they’re going to go, well, what’s the return on that? And you’re going to have to say, well, we don’t, we don’t know. You know, we can’t actually measure it.

Minter Dial  10:41

Which is always true in the past as well, no, we can measure it. But we just don’t know, as I say, which the factor part. So, you’ve got this idea of making things simple. And maybe in today’s world, the complexity has gotten as over complexified. And let’s say there’s always been complex. But now to make simplicity within this fast changing with so many choices mode, how does one go about getting down to that core message? What does? I mean is this, I got to call Marty all the time. Or, you know, that you’re, you know, one of the best agencies? What is it? How do you structure that notion of simplicity?

Marty Neumeier 11:25

Yeah, you don’t have to call me, but you have to have a sense of what’s necessary. And you probably should be working with somebody on the outside, who brings objectivity to it, and who’s worked with a lot of different companies and industry types, a lot of different personalities who can objectively come in and make sure that you’re being honest, right? And bold, right? Because that’s what happens is, a lot of companies when they do it themselves, they pull back from, from what they really need to do, which is have a simple, bold concept. So, it does help to get the right team into to help you do it. But the work is, it starts from the very top of the company that you have to know. You know, what’s the purpose of the company? Beyond making money? It’s a crucial question. And it’s a question that companies dodged for many years. And that’s sort of how we got into the position we’re in where no one trusts companies anymore, you have to have a reason for being that’s beyond just making your shareholders happy, you know, increasing shareholder returns is not a purpose. Right? It’s, it’s a function of being a company, but it’s not the end all of being a company, that has to be something more. So, if you, you have to figure out what that is. And then at the same time, you have to look at your core customer, who is the core customer, if I were to describe that, man or woman or child? Who would that be? And what is that person about? What are they trying to get done in their lives. And then make sure that, that, that identity that customer identity matches perfectly with the company perfect purpose. So, those two things are at the very top without that you can’t get very far. However, having that doesn’t do the complete job because you still have to compete and there may be other companies with the same purpose and this the same target audience. So, you have to differentiate, differentiate yourself. So, that’s the next level down is you have to understand what that customer’s aims are, what are their goals in their life, their life that you can solve that you can help them with? And then why are you the only solution for that person with that need? Right? So, that’s called I call that loneliness. And loneliness is, you know, our company is the only blank that blank.

Minter Dial  13:59

So, the only, you know, airline that that delivers on time.

Marty Neumeier 14:01

Yeah, that is not always on time, right? Or whatever it is. The only shoe company whose shoes are light is a sheet of paper. I actually have somebody I know somebody who does something like that. So, those are very simple, powerful ideas that you can own for quite a long time. And even if you have competitors, you can still own the idea of it. If you’re the first and you do it the best. So, you got to start there. And then you have to get into issues of a customer’s probably belong to some sort of tribe. It’s not even doesn’t have a name, but it’s a bunch of people who think the same way. And that’s a loyalty reinforcer. So, if you’ve got you have to know what tribe they’re in, and preferably you have one tribe per brand you don’t have like and doesn’t serve three or four different groups of people who have differing interests. That’s actually a misuse of a brand. And so, you have to have a very good idea of who they are. And then that tribe, the rules of that tribe have to connect squarely with the values of the company. So, those are sort of three levels to columns. And when you’ve got that, you’ve got the basis of a brand, you’ve got a filter for all the decisions you’re going to make going forward, and everyone in the company knows what they’re about. That helps you keep on target. And if you start coloring outside the lines, it’ll be obvious to people say, hey, wait a minute, if we if we do that, that means we’re not this company anymore. So, are we going to change who we are? Or are we going to eliminate that path? So, so that’s how you, that’s how you start?

Minter Dial  15:45

So, you know, I think back to your book scramble with that CEO, David Stone. And the way he had the turbulent path, he got to finding his mission for the company that he was working on. To what extent do you believe that the C suite executives, leaders anyway, somehow who are finding this purpose for the company actually need to have a personal ambition to that and other words, that it, it resonates actually, with their deepest personal selves?

Marty Neumeier 16:23

It doesn’t have to, and certainly there are companies who are, you know, into leader number four, or five or six, so the founder founders long gone, obviously, they’re not going to have that same founders vision and passion, but they could still have enough passion and the right kind of passion to lead a different sort of company than a startup. So, I would say that it’s important for startups to have a founder who’s the figurehead, the vision, the vision, Master for the for the brand, and believes in the brand, passionately, and will put a lot of efforts and resources behind it. But after that, the next CEO, the next one, in the next one, need to really understand the company and understand how branding works in general. And, and know how to get the company from wherever it whatever wherever it is, to the next stage, you know, to design a path essentially, from where they are to where the leader thinks they should, should be next.

Minter Dial  17:22

So, something that you and I spoke about briefly, before we got into our chat here was content marketing. So, it’s sort of high on the list of many blog posts, and everyone’s talking about it as a way to drive your brand. So, Marty, are you a believer in content marketing, if so, if not explain why?

Marty Neumeier 17:43

I’m suspicious of content marketing, I’m old enough to remember what happened to advertising way back in the 50s and 60s, when, with long copy ads, and so forth, that were in articles that were placed to promote a product and a product or service or business. And I kind of feel that there suspect because they are they’re sneaky, in a sense. If, if a reader or a viewer is not sure where this is coming from and takes it as a dispassionate objective, you know, article, but it’s actually got an agenda. That’s, that’s, uh, that’s cheating a bit. And what’s going to happen is that we’ll come back to undermine the authenticity of a brand. So, I think, I mean, it can be done, it can be done well. It has to be open, you know, you have to say like, this is, this is from the company, this is our point of view, you can’t just say, some bloke, you know, believes that, you know, Ryanair is the best airline in the world, you know, and tries to convince you of that, or starts telling stories that get to that, you know, get people to that frame of mind. You know, when you tell creative people in advertising agencies, design firms, PR firms, you tell them that branding is about storytelling, which it is. Your Brand has a never-ending story, like a never-ending television series. It just keeps on going. Right and, and stories are part of it. They get very excited when you when you make that pitch to them because they love making up stories. I mean, that’s the that’s their underlying skill is, is making a case. Often a charming case for something that that convinces people that they should sign up with a brand. The thing is that audiences actually resent that they reject it, and they love stories too, but they want to tell the stories. No, and that’s what’s happening on social media. Everyone’s telling a story, or part of a story. about your brand, which is out of your, your control, right? They want to do it. And it’s their view of your brand, which is what I’ve always said. That’s what a brand is. It’s, it’s a person’s gut feeling about a product. So, if you’re the one telling the stories, there’s going to be a clash at some point where they read something and they say, No, no, no, that’s not what that brand is about. And they start to disassociate from it. So, it can really backfire. And, and I know we all want to write stories, we want to talk about the brand. That’s traditional advertisings role. But we’re beyond that now. So, I think this is it’s a throwback to something that was kind of discredited way back in the 50s and 60s. But you know, most people doing it weren’t around them. So, they didn’t see how that became regarded over time. So, I think companies that want to be authentic, should be very careful about how they use that.

Minter Dial  20:58

And certainly, at some point in that basket, you’re throwing advertorials as well?

Marty Neumeier 21:04

Right, that’s the word that we used in the 50s and 60s, advertorials, and after a while, they had to be labeled as such, if they were going to run in a magazine or a newspaper, they sad to say that at the top and but often, they would still try to cheat a bit by adopting the trade dress of the magazine or the, for the newspaper. So, it looked just like an article. And the more you know, sort of high-end magazines and newspapers wouldn’t allow that. Right? You couldn’t, you couldn’t mimic the look of the of the real editorial.

Minter Dial  21:36

At some level, a lot of things that we’re talking about, are about not cheating, and not having deceit. Because the issue is we kind of go down every rabbit hole we can as marketers to try to do everything we can to scream the loudest get the most attention. And that quickly runs out of, of suitability in the eyes, or the ears of the consumer.

Marty Neumeier 22:01

Yeah, they’re smart, right? At least if the good drives the people that you know, the customers who really want the ones with somebody and the ones who are really capable of spreading the word about you. They’re the first ones to sniff out something that’s not right, and you start hearing about that. So, if you know, social media is a great way to listen to customers. It’s not a very good marketing medium, in my view. But it’s a great listening medium to find out how people regard your brand. It’s all about what they think. And once you know what they think you can make adjustments.

Minter Dial  22:35

So, it’s your point, at some level, if it’s not a marketing medium, it actually could be the modern marketing medium, if listening is really integral to this whole notion of your brand is what other people feel about you not what you say it is?

Marty Neumeier 22:50

Well, it’s an input medium, rather than an output medium, I would say, because if you start to use Facebook or LinkedIn or something, to promote a messenger company, I think that’s, that’s a misuse of it. Because it’s, it’s social media, it’s not commercial media, right. So, you know, just be honest about what’s an advertisement and what’s not, and I think you’re going to get a lot more success. The other thing is that brands more and more are built on the actual experience, the experience and the meaning of what that experience brings, which has to do a lot with the product or the service itself. So, a lot more effort has to go into just making that product or service be great, right, and, and, and compelling. And then everything else is more about just revealing it to people and not persuading them that it’s something that it’s really not.

Minter Dial  23:49

You mentioned before, Marty, events. Do you have an input as to what constitutes the right type of event for a certain type of brand? How does one go about making an event, which is not just the 18th 1000s sponsoring of deep purple? or something?

Marty Neumeier 24:06

Yeah. Well, the whole thing with you know, so we’re getting into the area of touchpoints. So, once you have your, your filter for your brand, you know what the basic story is, you know, this sort of things I talked about purpose and loneliness, and so forth. You take that and you create touch points for customers. And these are the ways that customers experience your brand. So, they experience the products messaging, whatever you give them. So, in my view, the touch points that you create need to be pretty original or at least fresh to really make a difference. You can’t just observe somebody else doing something and think well that worked we can do that. We’ll just take that our competitor did it. We should do that too. Okay, so example of that is you know, Apple created a sensation with their Apple Stores, which nobody saw coming, you know, these beautiful stores that look like museums. And it was really successful. So, what happened in a few years, Microsoft put out their own stores, too. And they and they look the same, right? They have that same aesthetic of the, that doesn’t work, right? It works for the first one. So, do something different. So, that that whole idea of creating touch points that are not only different, but align perfectly with what the brand is, and who the customers are. That’s the art. And if you’re just looking around and borrowing things from your competitors, you are never going to get there, you’re just not going to have that. That that talked about, you know, experience that you want. You can however borrow it from a different industry, you know, and change it, that could be exciting. Or you could come up with a touch point that no one’s ever seen before. Right? That just is heretical when you first think of it. And then you realize, no, this is actually outstanding, and it aligns perfectly with who we are. So, let’s do that. Somebody

Minter Dial  26:11

else said intrigues me about you, Marty, is your background in design. It’s a word, you know, intellectually, I understand. And I talked to friends who are designers, but you come at it from a practitioner standpoint, and obviously was present heavily in scramble, where you do about design thinking, I’d be interested to hear how you think, what is the importance of where does design fit in at an executive level, and what a C suite typically missing when it comes to design?

Marty Neumeier 26:43

I think, you know, design kind of brings up ideas of designers working at a table or with a computer, you know, in a room somewhere in the basement. Working on a specific thing, you know, designing a logo or a website or, you know, or in a, you know, industrial building, designing a product. And those are all true and very important activities. But I like to look at design in a broader way. And I think of design as changing an existing situation, to an improved one, which of course, all those activities do, you know, let’s create a better product, let’s create a better logo, let’s you know, but I think of it as a way to get from point A to point B. So, you imagine what could be that isn’t today. And you figure out how to get there. And design is the process you use to get there. So, that means imagining things that weren’t there before ideas that weren’t on the table, shaping them, testing them, and prototyping and testing. And bringing them to a point where they work really well and then getting, you know, putting them into the marketplace. So, that’s when you think about design like that design can be used at any level of the company can be used in your personal life, it can be used with a problem you have with your husband or wife, you know, you can use design thinking. So, this is a really powerful way of thinking that designers kind of understand intuitively because they were that’s how they do their work they do with their hands, and they come up with new ideas and test them out and try them out and protect them. So, that’s something that’s very useful at the top of a company, especially in strategy, decision making, organizational design, all those kinds of things are a kind of design, you know, if you’re a CEO, and your company is in a position that you don’t like, that’s difficult, and you want to get it into a better position, take it someplace, you have to design a path from A to B. And so that’s the same kind of thinking. But what happens instead often is traditionally trained CEOs will say, okay, what are other people doing? Or what did I learn at Harvard? Or Cambridge? What did we do in my last company that really worked, let’s just do that. And so, all these ideas are sort of existing ideas that they pull off of a shelf, and try to adapt to their situation. And often those aren’t very original ideas, and they’re probably not as appropriate to the actual situation. But using design and design thinking, you can get there much quicker, and in a safer way, and a much bolder way. So, you know, if a CEO let’s say he gets together with his team, and they come up with some ideas, and some of them are pretty bold and really might work he starts thinking about it or she starts thinking about it and says Wow, that’s pretty risky. You know, I mean, if we fail there that’s going to be really bad. We’ll lose a lot of money. We’ll get a lot of bad press, we’ll be a laughingstock we’ll probably go down the tubes. So, let’s not do that bold idea. Let’s just put pull back and just like take a smaller step, let’s do it. That guy over there is doing that’s working with us do that, that’ll sell really well, the shareholders will love that.

Minter Dial  30:09

Yeah, trying a big-name consultancy, how can they go wrong?

Marty Neumeier 30:15

Yeah, that’s right. Or that, you know, right, the other card that our biggest competitor is really doing well with that. So, let’s do the same thing. That’s never going to create innovation. So, you need a path to innovation. And if you want to innovate, you got to design there’s just no other way around it. So, that’s what CEOs need to understand. And then when they understand it, they see that, well, we’re not really set up to support this kind of activity. I mean, we don’t have the right people, the structure of the company is wrong, we don’t invest properly, all these things start to be obvious. And I think that’s good. I think we need to really rethink how a corporation works in an era where it’s nonstop innovation, you know, as a path to success.

Minter Dial  31:02

Listen to Marty, it feels like the key word is creativity. Because if we’re not doing what the others have done, then this sort of a notion of origination, that I’m going to create my design path that’s going to make the original output that’s going to make me bold and make me different from the others.

Marty Neumeier 31:27

That’s right. And it is creativity. And wouldn’t you rather work for that company where creativity is demanded on every level in some way. And constant change is the norm. It’s the norm in the company where people don’t say, oh, no, we’re changing again, with like, last year, we were doing that, and this year, we’re doing this geez, what is it ever going to stop? Well, if you’re doing it right, it should never stop. And it should be a joyful exercise for everybody to, to always be contributing, always inventing as you go. So, creativity is huge. But I would argue that the number one thing to create goal of creation, is to create a customer. And keep that customer. And when you think about it that way that that tallies perfectly with the definition that I use for branding, which is a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company, well, we get we need to create that customer through that brand. Right. And when I first realized that’s what we should be doing is creating customers more than creating products and services. I thought I was very proud of that. Sort of like I said, I stumbled into this insight. And then I was looking through some old notes from my first book. And so, this goes back a long time ago, 15 years. And I found a little card I had written where I read something Peter Drucker had written Peter Drucker though, the guy starts sort of invented management consulting, back in the 50s. He was way ahead of his time, and he said, the only valid reason for business is to create a customer. Exact same words back in, I don’t know, 1960 or something. So, nothing’s new, I guess. But I think we’ve never really, you know, taken them up on that. And so now we are…

Minter Dial  33:16

On some level, it just resonates, of course, on another side, because now when saying being customer centric, and some level, the idea there is a little bit diluted from your thought, which is, well, we have a customer, how do we now you know, focus our energies on him or her? You’re saying actually create one, which is, let’s say more up the funnel?

Marty Neumeier 33:38

Yeah, that’s, that’s the way you build a company now is you start with a core customer. And you build it out from there. So, who is that customer? Why do we want that customer? What does that customer need from us? What does that customer want to do in his or her life. If you can solve that one person’s problems or challenges, then that person probably has, you know, represents many other people that you could, you could have as your customer and that person will start telling other people and you’ll build it out from there. So, that’s, you start with just solving one person’s problems and you and you grow it from there. That’s a much better way to do it. And you it gives you the chance to learn as you go. And they’ll contrast that with the way it’s traditionally been done, which is you look at a market, someone analyzes the market and they say it’s a it’s a $50 billion market. And let’s segment it into these different areas. And let’s see which segment that we could win in by owning that segment. And so sort of put fit people through a funnel and they come out the bottom and those are your customers. But what if, what if there is no market for what you’re doing? Because things are changing pretty quickly and often the biggest companies start when there’s no market at all. They build the market from scratch. They see a need and turn it into a market so they bring In the market along with it, that’s how you really become successful today. So, to do that you really have to be customer centric. You have to realize that you don’t exist without that customer. So, it’s not you’re going to exist without customers and they’ll find you know, you, you need to solve a real problem in people’s lives, help them achieve their destiny, in a sense, in some little way. And they return that as loyalty. So, it’s a much different way to do business. But I think it’s the way that works. When you look at all the companies that are hugely successful today. Apple and Amazon and a lot of others, you’ll see how much they care about customers.

Minter Dial  35:49

No doubt. So, Marty, I know that you are coming to Blighty to London in March. Yeah, tell us about what you’re doing coming to your Grandmaster workshop.

Marty Neumeier 36:02

Yeah, this is so exciting. I’ve been giving workshops on branding for you know, 15 years, but this is the first time I’ve sort of compressed it into a two day experience where at the end, you learn so much that I’m willing to, to confer a certificate of to call you certified brand specialist. So, that’s the goal of this is to get people through this material in a really fun experiential way. And, and so when they come out the other end of this, they have a really clear view of the playing field of branding, in even if they’ve been in branding for 10 years, I think they’ll still learn quite a bit. They’ll come out, if they pass it pass a test that shows that they’ve absorbed the material that come out, and they’ll get this and that that will be a differentiator in the marketplace for them. Because, you know, it means something so by virtue of my books, and so forth, so they say oh, yeah, they you studied with Marty Neumeier. In this, you understand the brand gap and all? And how does ag Yes, yes, they do. So, it’ll show people where they fit in the big scheme of things. That’s the goal of this first level. And the program is actually a five-tier course. It’s five tier program is five courses, kind of like working your way up through to a black belt. And this is the first one the facade I’m really excited that the first one is in London, because I love London. But it’s the company that I started to do this is called level C. we conceive it as a sort of pop-up brand school. So, these courses will pop up wherever we get partners to put them on. So, the first one is in London, second one will be in France, third one, I believe Chile, we’re talking about maybe Ireland. So, that’s getting pretty far in the future. But it’ll move around the world, which is really fun. So, people in different parts of the world get a chance to take these classes. And as we go and add tiers to the five tiers, we’re going to roll them out about to career, you’ll be able to take more than one together, if you’ve got a lot of stamina, you do a one two-day course followed by a two-day course and so forth and earn a certificate for each one. But our goal is to make these certificates valuable so that an employer or a boss sees that you have it, they look it up and go yeah, this is this is something that you got this and it makes you more valuable either as an employee or a consultant.

Minter Dial  38:34

So, this would be something for everyone who’s basically interested in marketing, probably more at the lower level junior levels. At some levels, there’s because level ones more introductory white belt, if you call it. Yeah. And

Marty Neumeier 38:47

it is but it’s necessary to get to the other ones. Because I guarantee that people who have been doing this for even 10 or 20 years don’t know some of these things. So, it’s a reset for them, because branding has changed quite a bit and

Minter Dial  39:01

and when is it how much the cost? And how do you sign up?

Marty Neumeier 39:03

I don’t know how much it costs. It’s sort of in line with other conferences, and so forth you sign up at, I think So while I left? That’s so yeah, you know, or you can just go to Marty My website and I’ll have information about all the upcoming classes as they are announced.

Minter Dial  39:27

That’s great. And so the ones in London Do you have the dates? It’s there that the Bob is on, right?

Marty Neumeier 39:32

It’s at the barber can Yeah, it’s your city, right? Yes, it

Minter Dial  39:37

is barbers Okay, is another city in front of Oh, okay.

Marty Neumeier 39:42

Right, you and I are Francophile and do we, we literally we live in France part of the year. So, yeah, so at the Barbican in London, March 14 and 15th. So, it’s a Thursday and a Friday be a very active two days and you I get to meet a lot of people that are keen on branding a lot of people who have been following my work over the years and are really eager to take their knowledge to the next level. And I suppose you know, in time, we’ll be back with more courses in London, but I think it’s going to move around. And I think that’ll be the fun of it. I like to travel and I think a lot of the people who take my courses travel anyway, and they’re always looking for an excuse to go someplace interesting.

Minter Dial  40:27

Sounds like a great idea, Marty. So, listen, how can someone other than your website, which you just mentioned, follow us? Suppose you were Marty Neumeier on Twitter, right?

Marty Neumeier 40:38

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Marty Neumeier and Twitter one word. And you can link in with me.

Minter Dial  40:44

So, same thing. Sounds good. Marty. Thanks for coming on the show. again. Great to have you. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of chances to catch up with you in a pub while you’re doing your brand muster workshop.

Marty Neumeier 40:53

That’s great. Yes, looking forward to it Minter. Thanks so much.

Minter Dial  40:58

So a really heartfelt thanks for listening to this episode of The Minter Dialogue podcast. If you liked the show, please remember to subscribe on your favourite podcast service. As ever, rating and reviews are the real currency of podcasts. And if you’re really inspired, I’m accepting donations on You’ll find the show notes with over 2100 blog posts on on topics ranging from leadership to branding, tech and marketing tips. Check out my documentary film and books including my last one, the second edition of “Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence” that came out in April 2023. And to finish here’s a song I wrote with Stephanie Singer, “A Convinced Man.”


I like the feel of a stranger

Tucked around me

Precipitating the danger

To feel free

Trust is the reason

Still I won’t toe the line.


I sit here passively

Hope for your respect

Anticipating the thrill of your intellect

Maybe I tell myself

There’s no use in me lying.


I’m a convinced man,

Building an urge

A convinced man,

To live and die submerged.

A convinced man,

In the arms of a woman


I’m a convinced man

Challenge my fate

I’m a convinced man

Competition’s innate

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


Despise revenges

And struggle to see

Live for the challenge

So life’s not incomplete

What’s wrong with challenge

I know soon we all die


I’m a convinced man

Practicing my lines

I’m a convinced man

Here in these confines

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man

Put me to the test

I’m a convinced man

I’m ready for an arrest

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man… so convinced

You convince me, yeah baby,

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman…

Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. After a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence (2nd edition) (2023); You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader (Kogan Page 2021); co-author of Futureproof, How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

👉🏼 It’s easy to inquire about booking Minter Dial here.

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