Episode 44 - Bratton Revealed: DishyMix Host Susan Shares Her Rocky Patches, Self-Promotion Tips and Her Allure with Your Personal Life
On this episode, I bring listeners up to speed on how I weave together running a start up, sitting on boards, co-managing an industry association and producing my own weekly audio show and companion blog, DishyMix. If you think about me only in the context of ad:tech, or only know me from DishyMix, or only know me as the Vice Chair of the Association for Downloadable Media, read on.
I'm one busy girl and take a moment on my own show to share my work and a few of my personal travails -- not to self-aggrandize -- but to encourage you to step up in a way that works for you.
This show includes:
· Running 21st Century Mom & Pop Shop
· Intimacy, Connection and Honesty in Marriage
· Promoting Myself Through Social Media
· Serving on Board of Directors/Advisors
· How to Give Back to Your Industry
· Indulging My Passion for Exploring the Personal Power of the Famous People in Our Industry
I'm driven to connect with people. My "special purpose" is to divine the unique talents and value that an individual offers and to want to support, promote and celebrate that. That's why I do my weekly DishyMix show - I want to find out what drives the titans of our industry and how they've leveraged their capabilities to create their success. My aim is to help others model success through the insights I can uncover in my interviews.
In nearly every episode of DishyMix my guests repeatedly offer slight variations on two themes that are their secret to success. First, "no regrets." Simply, don't look back. Don't focus on what you've done, focus on where you are going. Secondly, take the risk. Every time they've taken the risk, they've ultimately prospered. Playing it safe doesn't pay off for these winners.
I am taking my guests' advice. I've taken the risk to launch a new company, Personal Life Media, with my husband. That's a double risk: launch a start up AND do it with your spouse! But I love it and believe we have massive potential for aggregating an important audience of "cultural creatives" driving the "renaissance generation" as well as the ability to deliver technology of great interest to a publisher who just can't move as fast as we, a nimble Web 2.0 start up. It's both a lifestyle company and a potentially appealing acquisition.
Perhaps more interestingly, you'll hear the story of my nearly failed marriage and the abject pain that drove me to the changes I had to make in my life. This "work" resulted in a re-bonding to my husband so strong it would have been painful to drive away from him to go to a job everyday. We started Personal Life Media together to give voice to the roster of experts in personal growth and relationship who reconnected us to a depth we never thought possible. We have the intimate connection everyone wants and few know how to achieve.
On Personal Life Media we have created a platform of shows that provide a depth and authenticity about relationships, consciousness and connection that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Truly special content - I encourage you to check it out.
It's also been risky to launch an industry association (ADM) and drive standards in an industry (podcasting) fraught with rugged individualists who prefer to defy authority and cleave to few. Luckily I'm surrounded in call cases by amazing partners.
I've taken risks to join boards of fledgling start ups and support them in needs ranging from sales training and sales team organization and motivation, product positioning, pricing, business modeling, strategic planning, market positioning, naming, branding, ID, market segmentation, persona creation, messaging matrices, PR strategies and plans, new business launches and my most esoteric but best skill, CEO encouragement and support. Some of the companies with which I'm currently engaged include ZEDO, NewsForce, (800) FREE-411, Merchant Circle, Collarity, Powered and a new stealth start up founded by one of my heros, Tony Robbins, called My Vision One.
And on this show, I celebrate more ways to give back, beautifully illustrated by this year's ad:tech Limelight Award "Industry Achievement" Winners: Rich LeFurgy, Archer; Kate Thorp, Real Girls Media and Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Buzz Metrics.
Jump in. Get involved. Bring your talents to industry associations, industry events and conferences through sharing what you know, selflessly blog great information for the rest of us to model, mentor someone coming up through the ranks, serve on a board, or take a page out of an Industry Achievement winner's play book. It's time to step up.
And if my show helps enrich your thinking, will you forward it to a friend or colleague? I'm trying to double my audience and I welcome your support.
If we're not connected on LinkedIn or Facebook, send me a request!
And will you take my listener survey? It's anonymous, takes less than 5 minutes and helps me with my sponsors. You know how important market data is!
Thanks again for listening. I really appreciate your precious time. Let me know any comments or ideas you have about DishyMix. I am in service to you.
Welcome to “Dishy Mix”. I am your host Susan Bratton and on today’s show your guest is Susan Bratton. I feel kind of funny doing a show like this, but so many people have asked me to actually just do a show catching them up with who I am, what I do, and what is happening in my world that I finally caved and decided to talk to you directly about who I am and what I do today.
It is funny because I do an interview show but thousands of podcastsers do a show every week where they just talk to their audience. So I am going to try that out today. Next week we will be back with a guest, but due to popular demand the guest of the show today is me.
On today’s show I am going to talk about: the 2lst century mom and pop shop, I am going to talk about how I promote myself using social media, what it is like to be on a board of advisers or a board of directors and how you can get on one, the value of giving back to our industry, and what I would like you to help me with.
Highlights of today’s show include: I really try to explore the people behind the names in our industry. I think it is the personal power and the experiences that people bring to our industry that make it special. We just decided to get really proactive about our relationship. We took a lot of courses about couples, relationship, intimacy, connection, and honesty; everything from Tony Robins to human awareness institute to one taste. We did a lot of work as they call it in that category. We became in a way workshop junkies; but it really opened us and allowed us to reconnect.
We decided to enter into this because honestly after getting through all of that work that we did we just wanted to be with each other 24/7. We were so reconnected that it would have been painful to drive away in the morning and go someplace without him.
I get to do the things that I love the most against a lot of different companies with a lot of CEOs that I learned from. It allows me to also meet a lot of people in the industry, hear there ideas, and see what they are doing. It keeps me sharp.
I wanted to tell you some of the things that I am about because you indulge my passion for doing the show every week. Thank you for listening to it. I really try to explore the people behind the names in our industry. I think it is the personal power and the experiences that people bring to our industry that make it special and because we’re cutting a new swath in the world we have some really extra special pioneering types.
I guess that I would like to think that I am one of those. I have always thought about myself as a pioneer in the advertising business. A lot of people know me in different ways. Some people know me through the work I do with Adtech. Some people know me from Personal Life Media; which is a company that I started with my husband. Others might know me from some of the other work I do; whether it is on associations boards like Adtech, or the Association for Downloadable Media, or the Silicon Valley Marketing Association or they might know me just from my FaceBook profile. I am starting to get a lot of people who connect with me through face book that I don’t know. I actually think that is kind of an interesting connection.
I wanted to just round out who I am and what I am doing because it continuously evolves. Right now I am the CEO of Personal Life Media. Personal Life Media is a company that I started about a year ago in March of 2007. I launched it with my husband Tim Bratton. Between us we has started 8 companies, helped launch them or were responsible for founding them and launching them.
We have been married for about 15-16 years now. In our 11 th year in our relationship we hit a really rocky patch in our marriage. Instead of abandoning it and getting a divorce, which we had considered, honestly, we had grown so far apart living our own separate kind of lives, that we ended up being friends but not lovers, not connected any more. We decided to get really proactive about our relation.
We took a lot of courses about couples and relationships and intimacy and connection and honesty; everything from “Tony Robins” to “Human Awareness Institute to “One Taste”. We did a lot of work, as they call it, in that category. We became, in a way, workshop junkies; but it really opened us and allowed us to reconnect.
I had this idea that I wanted to do a podcast about relationship. I wanted to bring all those people onto my show that had changed my world and had allowed me to reconnect in a much more intimate way with my husband. I had that idea and I had been doing a podcast for Adtech and then a podcast on Web Master Radio since 2005 and I decided to launch this show.
One day it suddenly hit me that instead of launching another podcast I should launch a media network. I wanted to launch a network with a series of shows that explored personal relationships and went beyond that to the things we care most about in our lives. I thought that main stream media really dumbed it down a lot of content and there was no place you could go and find out about the things that you really cared about.
So I started to work on this network and Tim was hearing me talk about it and he kept coming up with these fabulous ideas. I one day said to him we will have to do this together. Would you be willing to work with me? Do you think you could work with me? Because if you have met me, you know that I am a very strong personality with a lot of ideas. I am a powerful force and I am not afraid to use it.
My husband is the perfect compliment to me. He is on the technology side. He is highly rational. I am very intuitive. He is analytical. It is just a really good match. He does the technical side and I do the more creative side of the business.
So we decided to enter into this because honestly after getting through all of that work that we did we just wanted to be with each other 24/7. We were so reconnected that it would have been painful to drive away in the morning and go someplace without him. I needed him after 11 years of a disintegrating marriage. I wanted to be with him every day. I also knew that we were a beautiful compliment to each other.
So we launched “Personal Life Media” with 16 shows, everything ranging from: living green about effortless ecology for everyday people; to expanded love making; and tantra coma sutra; and sex love and intimacy in the relationship category. We had shows about men’s empowerment and women’s empowerment. We had: the fearless lover, just for women, on the minds of men. We launched later another 6 shows including some breakout successes like: inside out weight loss, the joy of living creatively, your purpose centered life. We did a whole series of shows that started to gain and gain and gain in popularity and it turned out to be really fun.
I eventually brought “Dishy Mix” onto our network even though it is the only real ‘business show’. Even though we have shows like “Coaching” by the life coach for entrepreneurs and “Money, Mission and Meaning” which is about creating purpose in your work and passion in your play. We continue to add shows, to being on new business, and to add new sponsors. That has been a really fabulous thing for me.
It is honestly the first technology company that I have ever launched and luckily with the help of my husband and his brilliance in building technology.
So Personal Life Media is my main focus. I do a lot to promote those shows from a PR perspective. Many of you know that you get emails from me about “Dishy Mix”. You see me link on FaceBook and upload my blog post and my shows to FaceBook.
I even have a FaceBook fan club, that I would love for you to join of course, where I give away free product that my guests bring for our listeners, autographed books and things like that.
So I blog. I podcast. I use FaceBook. I use Linked In and I email market to my prospects and my listeners. That works really well and many many of our hosts do the same to promote there shows using social media.
Personal Life Media is the core of what I do but I am involved in a lot of other things. One thing that I also do is that I sit on the boards of a lot of companies. I am both board director and board advisor depending on the situation. I have had a lot of successes and I have had a few failures.
I decided that I wanted to be on the boards of companies about probably 4 or 5 years ago. I just started putting it our there that I was interested. In some cases I asked the CEO of companies if I could be on their board because I was really enthusiastic about their product. In other cases people came to me and asked me to be on their board.
I am currently on the board of Zedo; which is an ad serving company in the social media space. I think they do a terrific job. I help them primarily in the area of sales, sales education, teaching their sales team, supporting them with connections and contacts.
I also support a company called News Force, that is in very early stage, that does search engine optimized public relations and has some new ad models around SEO and PR.
I am on the board of a company called Powered, out of Austin Texas. They do educational marketing online, essentially, training consumers about products and services to help them move through the buying funnel. They are probably the most organized in the way they manager their board. They have bi-annual meetings where they bring all their board members in and have deep day long discussions about what they are doing and their strategies and collect that feedback. They do a really nice job with that.
I am also on the board of Jingle Networks, Merchant Circle, and Clarity. Jingle is 1-800-Free-411. Merchant circle is a very smart idea as well where they empower primarily small business owners who aren’t technical and don’t have a website to have a web presence and even to do Google and Adwords campaigns. They help them get those done. So they are empowering small business owners. It is a very local small business reach concept. Finally, Clarity is another board that I am on. They leverage the power of social search. We have it on our website personallifemedia.com and you can check it out.
All of these companies are really fun for me because I get to consult on sales, on PR, on marketing, on any number of issues, business models, projections, customer acquisition numbers, market positioning, so many different areas. I get to do the things I love the most against a lot of different companies with a lot of different CEOs that I learn from. It allows me to also meet a lot of people in the industry and hear their ideas and see what they are doing. It keeps me sharp; which I really like.
I am also working on a new stealth start up for Tony Robins. I can’t tell you the name yet but it is actually a new technology play with Tony Robins. Of course, I have takes all of Tony’s classes. I have walked on fire twice across hot coals. I am really excited because I get to actually do naming, branding, market segmentation work and help them through that process, selecting agencies and PR firms, staffing up for them so that they can get that very early most exciting work done; which is essentially completely forming the concept of the company. So I love that. It is a great team too.
I have also had some non starters. I have had companies that have gone out of business, The Beam, Our Story; other companies that never quite got on the ground but are still trying like Intelevision. Other companies that I have been on the board of have been sold like Embuzzy and Maven Networks, which was recently acquired by Yahoo.
I have also been on the board of associations which is a great place to start. Of course, I am the chair emeritus of Adtech, which is the biggest industry trade show in the digital marketing space. I programmed twenty events for them over the course of five years. Then Andre Yoni replaced me when I was ready to go. He has taken the helm and is doing an awesome job programming. I get to still be involved as an ombudsman and helping them with ideas as I see them come through. I think I will never leave Adtech. I have been on the board since 1996, the very first show. It is a big part of me. It is a big part of my identity and connection into the industries. So I really enjoy that.
I recently started a new industry association. We launched about a year ago. It is called The Association for Downloadable Media. I modeled it off of my experience with Internet Advertising Bureau. The IAB, of course, created its standards for online media. The ADM is creating standards for Downloadable Media Podcasts and Vidcasts because more and more of our content is going to be portable, on multiple devices, and on demand. Once you untether content from the web you have to be able to serve ads and count those ads. There is a higher level of complexity in doing that than there is on something connected like the internet. The Association for Downloadable Media in less than a year has launched their first ad standards and audience measurement guidelines.
I am very proud of that endeavor. It has been a real passion of mine to bring that counting, capability, and standardization to the industry. So I have put a lot of volunteer effort into that as well.
I am going to take a break because I have sponsors who support my show. It is a way that I generate revenue for myself and I want you to hear their messages.
When we come back I want to talk about giving back to the industry and something that I have done recently that has honored some people in our industry. I think why I am telling you some of these things is certainly not to brag about myself but more to share my path with you and hope that you will also consider doing some of these things because that way that we connect with each other in our industry is what compels us all forward. That is what I am all about. So stay tuned and we will be right back. I want to tell you about something else I am working on.
We are back. Hey, if you are still with me I really appreciate it. I hope you are enjoying hearing my story. I hope that it is stitching something together about how I manage my life and the things that I care about most which are, of course, furthering digital media.
I am not the only one. I recently had an opportunity to emcee the Adtech Lime Light Awards. Adtech does an awards event every year. They have been doing it for 11 years. Last year I came to the team and I said, “Hey, you know we give away awards for campaigns and websites and the excellence of the work; but I would like to honor people in our industry. There are people in our industry that really step up and they give of themselves selflessly to the industry by doing volunteer work in various ways. In that volunteer work they create an opportunity for everyone. I want to award and acknowledge that”. So Adtech, as kind and indulgent as they are to me, they let me start something called The Industry Achievement Awards. I just got done giving away year two of the awards.
This year we were able to honor Rich Lafergie of Archer. Rich, of course, has been instrumental in launching the IAB and developing standards in the industry. He has helped over 30 companies get venture funding and an early start.
We also honored Kate Thorpe. Kate is currently the CEO of Real Girls Media. She has also been instrumental as an original Cnet evangelist back in 1995 teaching agencies in the industry and marketers about what the internet was and what the opportunity looked like. She was also on the board of IAB. She has also developed some patents that she has given away to the industry for technology, so that they became open source. She started one of the first interactive agencies owned by a woman. She is now at Real Girls Media her first product in Divine Caroline where she is creating a platform to give women and girls a voice on the web.
We also honored Pete Blackshaw. Pete is an amazing man. He really taught how important the value of hearing what the consumer has to say online and capturing that information and measuring our value by that. Pete invented or coined the term “Consumer Generated Media” (CGM). He has a new book coming out called “Satisfied Customers”. He helped WOMMA the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. He has really been instrumental in making us understand the power of our customers online.
We honored those three people this year at the Lime Light Awards. Each one of them has found ways to contribute their knowledge and make it available freely to all of us so that we can leverage it for our industry.
One of the things that I think, is that I hope I can encourage you to take a step and say, “I want to help out. I want to join a committee. I want to sit on a board. I want to coin a term and let it loose in the industry. I want to write a book that helps educate people and move them forward.”
One of the biggest jobs we have today in the industry is to teach the people coming into the business. Most of those of us who are in our forties and fifties who have been doing this for 10 or 15 years came out of traditional media. The people who come into the industry today came out of school. They don’t know how traditional media and marketing work. I think that it is imperative that we ask the new people entering our industry, to help them learn what the big picture is, to show them what the big picture is. To guide them through how the world works in marketing, advertising, media, the internet, web2.0, and how it is all stitched together.
So whether you want to be a mentor for an individual or you want to do some training in your organization or you want to give a way books or do any of the things I have mentioned; I really have gotten so much back charmically from the work that I have done that I think makes a huge difference. So I will leave that up to you to figure that out. I am always open for giving you advice about how to do that as well.
I think that is enough for today. I think you have gotten a good idea of where I keep busy and how I keep busy in addition to being a mother and a wife of a family that I love of course. I’ve got my boards, and my company, and my associations, and the work I do to give back to the industry, a blog, and a podcast. Gosh it is a lot and I love it. I can’t get enough. I would work all the time. I think I do.
I really appreciate you listening to my story today. I hope it connected some dots for you about what is up with Susan Bratton right now. If you haven’t had a chance to connect with me on FaceBook or join my FaceBook fan club or connect with me on Linked In I am always looking to expand that. I love people. I love connections and I love to make connections. So I encourage you to do all of that.
Finally, one last request is that I have a listener’s survey. I would love it if you would take it for me. I have enough listeners now that I don’t know all of you anymore personally. It is a good feeling but I would like to know more about you. It is anonymous. It takes five minutes and it helps me with my sponsors. I would really appreciate if you would take it. Here’s how you do it. You can go to personallifemedia.com and click on the ads that run all over the site that say listeners survey or you can go to my blog dishymix.com and you will see you can search for listeners survey or you can see the add on my blog and click on that. Thanks for your help with that.
Thanks for listening to “Dishy Mix”. I am always open to your ideas, anything. If you have great people you want me to interview I am definitely willing to do that. Transcripts for the show are available on the website. I hope you have a great day and I hope it has been interesting to hear a little bit about me. Thanks so much for tuning in. I will see you next week.