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Inside Exit Five | How to Actually Pull Off a Rebrand with Eli Rubel of No Boring Design

27 Jun 2024
Inside Exit Five | How to Actually Pull Off a Rebrand with Eli Rubel of No Boring Design

Show Notes

Dave and Dan (COO at Exit Five) go behind the scenes of the recent rebrand of Exit Five with Eli Rubel, Founder and CEO of No Boring Design. Eli shares his candid feedback on where partnerships with agencies and marketing teams often go wrong and the challenges of creative work.


They also cover:

  • How to create a killer creative brief
  • How well-crafted design can significantly drive conversion rates
  • The step-by-step process we followed for a successful rebrand



  • () - - Intro to No Boring Design and Eli
  • () - - Where Agency Partnerships Go Wrong
  • () - - Why You Need to Be Blunt About Your Needs
  • () - - Using Chat GPT and AI to Create an Effective Brief
  • () - - The True Impact of Design
  • () - - How to Use Organic Social Media for Advertising
  • () - - Why Visual Identity Matters to Brand
  • () - - Nailing your Branding Guidelines
  • () - - Why You Need to Experiment with Creative
  • () - - How to Use Design Resources to Create Leverage
  • () - - Getting Work Done: How to Delegate

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Dave Gerhardt [00:00:14]:
All right, we're back. Exit five podcast. America's favorite. No, not America, sorry, Dan. Dan wants us to expand globally. 30% of our customer base is global. The most popular b two b marketing podcast on the planet. Dave Gerhardt is here.

Dave Gerhardt [00:00:28]:
Dan is here. Eli is here. So this is a little bit of a inside exit five. We want to do something where recently we went through a full rebrand, full redesign website, visual identity. And we know that this is something that you listening to this, maybe you've been through this, so maybe this will be like a therapy episode or you're going to do this. And so we wanted to have Eli on to talk about this process. And then also in full transparency, we did something cool where Eli and his team were like, hey, we'll hook you up with this. We will kick ass for you on a rebrand.

Dave Gerhardt [00:01:04]:
If we do a great job, will you talk about NoBoringDesign? And I said, absolutely. Good deal. Game on. They blew us away. And so I wanted to have you guys on to talk about it. So first, let's just rewind at the beginning. Let's start, Eli, just introduce yourself and talk about NoBoringDesign to this audience.

Eli Rubel [00:01:22]:
Yeah, absolutely. Dave, thanks for having me on. This project was a blast, and I'm so glad that you and Dan were, were down for the crazy pitch, which I'm sure we'll get into the backstory of how it all came to be later. But yeah, at a high level. Founder of NoBoringDesign, I created NoBoringDesign, actually, while I was running a marketing agency, and just realized that so many of our clients were struggling with creative, like, whether it's organic, social, or paid ads, PDF's, all the creative required to run a comprehensive marketing program. Creative tended to become the bottleneck, design tended to become the bottleneck, and so decided to spin my creative team out and offer that as like this on demand design service and creative service for fast growing companies.

Dave Gerhardt [00:02:08]:
So we had initially connected like a year or two ago, you're running a different company. You had reached out to basically we did some sponsored stuff with exit five, and then I had you on the podcast because you have an interesting backstory, advising some high growth b two b startups on brand, on marketing, on go to market. And we had initially we did this podcast, and then at the end of the podcast, like, I never know what it's going to be like when I have somebody on the podcast, because oftentimes it's the first time we've met and we, the chemistry was great. We were riffing on things very much like, you know, on the same page was a bunch of things. And I think towards the end of the podcast, this maybe was like, this fall, dan was just about to come on, and I was really starting to think about, like, going harder with exit five, growing the business. And I wanted to level up. I wanted to grow the company a little bit, grow up a little bit, and I wanted to keep the same. I wasn't ready to do a full investment in the rebrand and redesign.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:04]:
And so I said to you, I was like, hey, I actually have this funny idea. I want to move. Like, I don't want exit five to be so tied to my name. And I have this crazy idea of, like, coming up with a mascot, like the fiver or something like that. Do you think you could come up with a mascot for us? And that was kind of what led. Led to you actually going back to your team and being like, no, but here's what we're going to do. We're going to use this as an opportunity to create something interesting, right?

Eli Rubel [00:03:30]:
Yeah, that was super fun. I remember you being, like, very apprehensive to putting anything else on your plate, rightfully so. And I was like, yeah, sure, we'll come back to you with the mascot. And then the brief to my team was like, all right, we're going full bore, full rebrand, full website presence, and we're just going to present it without having asked permission and see if we can blow Dave's socks off.

Dave Gerhardt [00:03:51]:
So I want to talk about what goes into that. But, Dan, you and me have worked together at a couple of companies. Now, you've been involved in the design, like, either in your role in a product marketing capacity or just kind of owning the website. We've traded lots of messages over the years about the pros and cons of doing an activity like this. Just in your experience, like, what usually goes wrong? What are some of the negative experiences we've had in the past? You know, I'm trying to get, like, the apprehensiveness around, like, is this going to be like, I get it. I get looking cool. Like, I get having something that looks better, might perform better, but that comes with this. We don't want to do this.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:28]:
Takes time. Like, let's dig into that a little bit. Some of the objections, I guess.

Dan Murphy [00:04:32]:
Yeah, I mean, the. The scope always increases, right. Whenever you start a project like this and, like, it happened with us, but I think we handle it really well, but it happens with every project. Right? Like, you want to start with the core five pages, and then you realize, wait, there's, like, three different platforms here. We got to build this.

Dave Gerhardt [00:04:47]:
We got to do subdomains.

Dan Murphy [00:04:48]:
And so I think the scope creep is always the thing that most teams struggle with going into it. And then when they're in it, how do we handle all this stuff? I think we made some sacrifices and we made some. Like, we were also small enough, we could do it really quickly, which is great. So I think that worked out fine for us. And then I think the other difficult part with the redesign that we've struggled with numerous times is measuring the ROI. Right? Do you measure conversion of landing pages? Do you measure traffic? Do you measure time on page? I mean, there's all these different rates. We can go to Google Analytics right now, and there's like 15 million data points we could use to measure the success, and none of them solely are correct for measuring the success. For us in this case, it was super obvious after we did it.

Dan Murphy [00:05:31]:
We're lucky to be in the middle of, like, a community of B. Two B marketers. And so we went and we launched and we posted on LinkedIn, and we posted our community and the response, what people said. The comments were just amazing, and we felt it. Right? So, like, we were big on feeling it, and so we felt it. But, like, that doesn't always happen with the redesign. It's really hard to measure, and so a lot of teams definitely struggle with that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:05:51]:
Well, I think you also have to, like, why are you going to do it? And I think sometimes you can be. It's easy to obsess over the measurement and verse. Like, it's something should just feel like, can we do it because we want it to be better? Like, I don't know. I want to redesign this room. I don't know how I'm going to measure. I want it to be better. And so I felt some of that, but I think my biggest hesitations were like, is this really the best use? Like, should we be doing this as a small team? And then also, just in having past experiences with designers and creative agencies, it can be super frustrating. You do a lot of work.

Dave Gerhardt [00:06:22]:
Like, you spend two weeks on a ton of calls to come up with a brief and to give examples, and then they come up with something that you don't like, and then it's hard to give that feedback. And then how do you blow up this work? And then you kind of got to start all over again, and it just becomes a process. And I want to hear from Eli on like, being a partner with a marketing team on this, let's talk through the, like what you all did for exit five, and then let's talk through like, how do you set yourself up for success? I've made the mistake, like anytime with hiring or working with an agency, I have realized that even if the agency didn't deliver on the right work, so oftentimes I'm the reason for that. And I think we don't spend enough time on what goes into the brief and being able to articulate what good looks like. So what is your process in working with a company? What does it look like to work with a good marketing team on something like this? And where do you even start?

Eli Rubel [00:07:17]:
Yeah, so, I mean, there are a couple of ways to go about answering that, but I'll just dive right in. I think the difference between a great engagement between a creative firm or even a designer individually and a client or a marketing team, a lot of it has to do with really being transparent upfront about what the goals are and specifically, ill give you some examples. Sometimes the goal is, hey, im a new vp of marketing. Ive been in the seat for two months. I know that this needs to happen. My goal is to like satiate my conversion needs, make sure that the site performs better than it currently is. But really my goal is to impress my CEO and make sure that all the other stakeholders are happy and that I don't burn any bridges through this process. And so that level of transparency really never comes through.

Eli Rubel [00:08:03]:
And you always find these things out down the road when all of a sudden the CEO steps in, has opinions and it blows the entire project up. And so that's such a little nuanced, but that's how a project can go from being like, oh, we could. What we did with you guys, what was it, like a month, month and a half? It was insane. The speed in the timeline and it's super abnormal because you guys were just like, we were all very aligned from the get go. You guys are very decisive at every step. You gave feedback live on our touch points and so there was no hemming and hawing, there was no like sudden grenade gets thrown halfway through the project and you start all over. So I think that's a big piece is just being clear upfront on what everyone is after and who the actual stakeholders are is something that many times gets messed up.

Dave Gerhardt [00:08:49]:
So for a project of this scale, are you saying like early in the process, like, do we need to bring the CEO into this process or do you have full control over this? Like, exactly? Is someone going to blow it up? Like, how do you handle that upfront?

Eli Rubel [00:09:03]:
So I'm to a point now where I own two agencies, I've seen a lot of happy clients. I've seen a lot of clients that light on fire and you have to problem solve. At this point, what I've learned is the more blunt you can be upfront and just straightforward about your needs, and the more you can advocate for your needs as an agency, the better it is for the client and the better the outcome for the client will ultimately be. So the how is, I'll just literally say it, say it flat out be like, hey, who could screw this up for all of us? Who's going to be the one who has strong opinions, that gets clued in late in the game? What does that look like? And I find that folks react really well to that. They appreciate that kind of. We're all in the same race. We all want to get to the same outcome. Let's help each other get there.

Dave Gerhardt [00:09:49]:
How do you come up with a brand? How do you come up with a new brand? Obviously, in our case, usually you're going to have something to work with. Right. But what are the actual steps? You just go off into a room and throw a bunch of ideas around? Or do you have some type of framework or system you like to use to go through the ingredients and come up with some initial concepts? How does that process work?

Eli Rubel [00:10:10]:
Yeah, so to some extent, too much process can stifle creativity, as you can imagine. I'll tell you how it typically goes. The average client company comes to us and they're like, hey, we just raised our series c and we really want our site to be better. We really love stripes website and they'll name three other really commonly referenced websites and they'll be like, can you just do something really fresh? And that stands out and it's unique. And so the first step is, again, back to expectation, setting and understanding what the goals are. If someone wants something that looks like stripe, they're basically asking us to put camouflage on them because almost all B, two B SaaS companies want to look like stripe. I don't know why, but they do. And so big successful company, then all of the companies end up looking like stripe and therefore nobody stands out.

Eli Rubel [00:11:06]:
So part of our job in that early stage of incubating a brand or creating a new brand that hopefully becomes this iconic standout entity is to help dispel some of their preconceived notions or understand if that is truly what they want and theyre okay with blending in and looking like all the other b two b SaaS companies, obviously, with our name being NoBoringDesign, were pretty big advocates for how can we do something fresh? How can we do something crazy that the industry hasnt seen before? An example of this, were working with Adam Robinson from RB two B right now. And I mean, that guy, his whole thing is like contrarianism and, you know.

Dave Gerhardt [00:11:50]:
The homepage is just him with two middle fingers and it says, screw you, 6th sense.

Eli Rubel [00:11:54]:
Exactly, exactly. And so when you imagine, like, imagine talking about what a brand for that guy and that company should look like, it's got to be so different and so out there. So, yeah, it's a little bit of a dance up front. And then usually we hone in with mood boards and putting reference imagery in front of them to really hone in on what is the vibe that you're feeling? How far is too far? That's another important one. Folks, a lot of time think they want to be creative, and then you put something really creative in front of them. They're like, this is crazy. We could never do this. And they're like, okay, all right, that's our parameter.

Eli Rubel [00:12:31]:
That's the end point on crazy and creative. Now let's go. What would be so boring and dull? Let's establish this kind of Max and min, if you will.

Dave Gerhardt [00:12:41]:
Yeah. So it's interesting to work with you all. It was definitely much more how I think we work, Dan and I, which is like, I believe there are frameworks that can help, but oftentimes we'll get an idea for something. And there wasn't a framework, but we just had an idea and we said, oh, let's do it this way. And I think you all had enough experience in the space to come up with that, but actually work with an agency one time, and there was a really interesting exercise where basically they had me go through and kind of answer all these questions and move a knob on a slider of where I might. It's almost like your risk tolerance profile if you're setting up an online retirement savings thing. And I thought that was interesting because it helped me articulate that. But this is one of the reasons why I actually am obsessed.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:27]:
It's one of the use cases that I love for chat, GPT and perplexity and AI tools is I I'm not a designer. I don't really know. I can't articulate the words. We used to work with this guy drift, called Matt Gemple, and he's a creative director. And he was like, he'll probably listen to this and smile, but he'd use all these design team words. And I'm like, man, I have no idea what that means. And he's talking about, this isn't a design word, so don't roll your eyes. But camel case and padding and all this nonsense, like, dude, I don't know any of that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:13:59]:
But what I do now is I go to chat GBT, or I can't get chat GBT to work right now. So I'm using perplexity. But I asked, I grabbed Stripes website and I put it in there and I said, can you describe the elements and the style of this website? And that is super, super, super helpful because now it explains this site to me. So just, I'm going to use stripe because you mentioned it. Stripe is characterized by a clean, minimalist aesthetic with ample use of whitespace sans serif typography and flat design elements. This style is often referred to as modern or contemporary web design. Here are some examples and descriptions of the of companies that also have this style. So slack, Dropbox, Airbnb, Squarespace, Mailchimp, those are all, you know, SaaS type of companies and examples.

Dave Gerhardt [00:14:44]:
And so sure, if you want that and you want to look like stripe, that's great. But I also think what's cool is you mentioned, like, just the positioning of your company is like, what is attractive? Also, like, all right, if you just want someone to go build you stripe, like there, here you go, just use chat GBT, come up with your version of Slack, Dropbox, Airbnb, Squarespace, Mailchimp, and stripe and put your company logo on it, and you got the product screenshot on the hero, you got the logos, you got the social proof, you got something about being fully integrated and all in one platform, and you're good, simple, that's fine. But I think that the real design opportunity, and I learned this, like, deeply with David Cancel, who's the CEO of Drift, who was like the first person that really blew my mind on this. He was obsessed with design and how design could make an impact on your marketing. And that was the thing that unlocked that for me. And I know, like, this is something that you're passionate about, but basically, like, how your creative strategy is typically an under invested thing. You know, we beat our heads looking for all these little growth hacks, and it's like, actually to be different, to look different, to say things differently, to be better through the visual identity and to not look like everyone else is actually the opportunity it sounds like that's what you're going to do with Adam, but maybe that's just something I can, you know, hear you riff on for a minute.

Eli Rubel [00:15:59]:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's like when I'm advising companies and thinking about, you know, with marketing brain hat on, design is usually seen, I think, by marketers and especially by non marketers, like other folks on leadership, whatever, as this like very soft, nice to have thing that we'll get to it when we get to it and like it would be cool to do. But is that really a big priority? And like where are our leads? You know, like where are the good leads? And at the same time, lets take an example. So my other agency matter made performance marketing agency. We work with a bunch of companies in tech and lets say our average budget that were managing ranges from $50,000 a month to a million dollars a month in ad spend. So lets just call it $250,000, just go somewhere in the middle. So $250,000 theyre spending every month across paid social, paid search. And they're pushing them to, well, first, depending on the platform, they're seeing an image, right, the ad itself.

Eli Rubel [00:16:58]:
Then they're getting pushed to a landing page. And so each of those are two massive conversion points where someone's deciding if they're actually going to trust this company to put their website in their information into the website. And so in this case, design is not a nice to have. Design is like mission critical for driving conversion and optimizing conversion. And so this is one of those spaces where I ask the marketers and a lot of times ill even ask the CEO's, hey, what do you care more about? Do you care more about being on brand with your ads or do you care more about that $250,000 a month that youre spending converting at 5% better than it did previously by making some bold design decisions. And sometimes it can be much greater than 5%. Right. It's crazy how human beings are.

Eli Rubel [00:17:47]:
Whether we like it or not or admit it or not, we're very driven by aesthetic. It's why Apple was so successful early on. It's why Nike has been so successful. It's like people like nice, pretty things and a lot of people might not be able to describe them, like you said in designer speak, but you can see it and be like, ooh, that's really nice, I want that. Or ooh, that's really nice. I trust that. And so design to me is this very inexpensive lever many times relative to the spend these companies are putting out every single month to bring folks in the door.

Dave Gerhardt [00:18:20]:
Dan, what do you got to say about this?

Dan Murphy [00:18:22]:
This is fascinating. I mean, I. Behind the scenes. I mean, I'm kind of nodding my head here. I guess I'm actually on camera, so I'm not behind the scenes, but I feel like I'm a front row listener to, like, you know, like, we've been in those shoes, Eli, like, spending that kind of money and thinking about design as an afterthought. I think the thing we did differently here because of you, is we kind of put it, you know, like, earlier on, like, honestly, we would not have done a redesign this year with three team members with the stuff we have on our plate. We have five now, but we had three team members when we greenlit this. And so I do see, like, already, like, Matt and our team is thinking about, like, we're not spending $250,000 a month on ads, but we are spending some money on ads, and we're trying some.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:03]:
Well, we're spending $1,000. Okay, fine.

Eli Rubel [00:19:06]:
So dream big.

Dan Murphy [00:19:08]:
Slightly smaller.

Eli Rubel [00:19:09]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:09]:
Your average client, but right on the amic.

Dan Murphy [00:19:11]:
You know, part of the thinking was, all right, let's get on webflow. Let's give Matt the reins to be able to go make decisions there and then. Now, like, one of the things we're doing is we're working with your team after the launch, and we're working on a website plan right now to go figure out, okay, what are the things you want to do in the website now that we have the new brand in place, now that we. We are spending some money on ads and we need to convert them. And so this is where, like, I think what you've done is you've painted a really nice story for us. And I think for all of our listeners of, like, this is really where design can be performance marketing. Right. And I can see why you went from a performance marketing agency to a design agency, you know, and added that onto your portfolio there because, you know, there's huge overlap there.

Dan Murphy [00:19:47]:
And so I'm excited about what we're going to do in the future here, too.

Dave Gerhardt [00:19:50]:
Also think, like, some people, like, I think you got to know marketing, to me, is a game of attention, and I think you have to know that now. There's multiple ways to get attention. And I actually do see some people write on LinkedIn about this, and they're like, it's not a game. Like, they're, like, the holier than thou crew is. It is. I'm playing a game and the game is to get your attention so I can get you to know, like, and trust my business. So hopefully you'll buy something and tell your friends, right, that that is, period. Now, you, you could do that.

Dave Gerhardt [00:20:21]:
Like, you ever seen, I don't know what they have out where you're at, but, like, you ever seen, like around tax season or a new car dealership, they got like some, they got some guy dressed up in like a statue of Liberty costume, like flipping a, like a liberty tax, like, sign up in the air, jumping up and down the side of the highway. That's one way to get attention. You don't have to do it that way, right? There are like classier and more thoughtful ways to get attention if you want to do that. But our audience of this podcast is mostly people that work at b, two b companies, and particularly with advertising, right? And actually, I would put organic social in this bucket right now, too. Organic social is essentially a free advertising channel. Every post you write, like, you've been really going hard on LinkedIn lately, Elijah. Everything you write is an advertisement for your name and your brand and your business. It's not overtly like, go buy my stuff, but it's an advertisement for some reason.

Dave Gerhardt [00:21:13]:
When you go and design your site, like stripe and squarespace and slack, then you go and make these ads like these linked. I'm on LinkedIn right now, so I'm seeing it. We make these ads that literally just look like the most on brand pieces of creative ever. It's like, and that's never going to get someone to stop and click and interrupt the feed. Now, you don't have to do that, but you can find ways to interrupt the pattern of scrolling and to earn that click and to get somebody to get your attention. And so I think that's what drew me to you all doing the exit five thing. I was like, yeah, what we're going to get from this is we already had product market fit from a content standpoint and a community standpoint. It was like the perfect storm of ingredients that I didn't see at the time.

Dave Gerhardt [00:21:57]:
Now, but I get it because we went and invested in this brand and now we have a visual identity that is very strong and very recognizable. It's like putting those two things together is like a gasoline and a match. And it's like the way that that creative changed, like help us change the trajectory of our business and made us feel more legit and helped us get people's attention. That was so important. Like, I kind of just mashed two thoughts in this rant. But one of them is like, man, why do we just make this ads and creative that stand out and, like, blend into the feed? Well, because we run this process of, like, they have to be on brand and I don't think that's right at all. And the other thing is, like, really thinking about how this design helped us level up. We went and we redid the website, we took those brand elements and we, like, reskinned our whole community.

Dave Gerhardt [00:22:43]:
And that's essentially our software product, our community. The engagement and quality that has gone hand in hand with this. We made some changes, like, as the organization and structure of the community at the same time, but it just feels more pro. We have something that we charge people for. Before this thing used to be on Facebook, so I went from calling it exit five with just like regular branding to being on Facebook. Now we invest in brand. It's on a different platform, it's highly designed, it looks amazing, it looks pro. That just, like, leveled us up in a big way that I think you can't underestimate.

Dave Gerhardt [00:23:13]:
And so we're, we're always searching for these growth hacks. I would do two things. I would do design that stands out. You can do something different for your website, but if you're going to publish, like, ads and creative, why would you not do that in a way that's going to stand out? And then the other thing is just like, how the creative can be the thing that levels up your brand and gets you in more conversations.

Eli Rubel [00:23:31]:
I think a really good example of that, that folks who have lived in the Bay area call it the last, like five to seven years will remember. Do you remember the first time there was a billboard that used the poop emoji in an ad copy?

Dave Gerhardt [00:23:48]:
No. Who was it?

Eli Rubel [00:23:49]:
Okay, I'm gonna space the name of the company that did it. But it was like the talk of the town. They were like, interesting. There's something about, like, I can't even remember the copy, but they use the poop emoji, basically, like, don't let your code base go to shit or something like that. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was so, like, fresh and bold and no one had done it and let alone on a billboard, you know, like, it was just everything about it and it was buzzy and people talked about it and says, or Mailchimp's their website. Like, when they made that website solid yellow, you guys remember that? Like, no one had seen that before. The entire site was yellow everywhere.

Dave Gerhardt [00:24:25]:
That's why I wanted a mascot. I wanted a monkey. You didn't deliver on that, which, you.

Eli Rubel [00:24:29]:
Know, well, we gave you clippy, and you didn't like Clippy, or you like Clippy Dan? Like, I didn't like.

Dave Gerhardt [00:24:35]:
He's too corporate.

Dan Murphy [00:24:37]:
That's right.

Eli Rubel [00:24:38]:
But I guess the point that I'm getting out there is, like, to stand out, especially with ads, you have to do something a little bit uncomfortable. Right. And that's why, if we go back to, you know, talking about Adam, like, that's why his stuff works so well, is because he's doing some, like, saying some slightly uncomfortable stuff or sharing slightly. Like, even the stuff I'm sharing, like, I'm over sharing a little bit on purpose, and that's the reason that it gets attention.

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:02]:
All right, I got some questions for you. For our audience of b, two b marketers, what advice would you give them when considering a rebrand of their own?

Eli Rubel [00:25:10]:
I would say you will 100% end up with a much better work product. Like, the end result if you trust the creatives to be the experts in the room about the creative, I think a lot of great creative gets suffocated, and then the end product is like, it's just, okay, it's better than it was. But if you really want something that stands out, and this. Could you say this about basically any agency that you hire, if you're going to hire an outside expert and pay a premium for them to come do work, let them do that work. Like, set them up for success and let them deliver for you?

Dave Gerhardt [00:25:46]:
Well, that also speaks to, like, who you should be looking for, right. If you're looking at a agency, like, for you, all your best marketing is your work, right. And so you have to show that. And so I think, like, when you're shopping for an agency, I want to see the goods. I want to see the sandwiches that you make, right. And so, like, I want to know, and then if that is true, then I need to shut up and let you do your thing, right. Otherwise, then I would say there's plenty of agencies in the world. Go find someone who's stuff that you like, and maybe you want the more stripe looking style and go find an agency who's going to do that completely.

Dave Gerhardt [00:26:18]:
Okay. What else? Any? That's your only advice? Come on.

Eli Rubel [00:26:23]:
Let's see.

Dave Gerhardt [00:26:24]:
I'm giving you the microphone on the exit five podcast. You got to give me something.

Eli Rubel [00:26:27]:
You're teeing me up.

Dan Murphy [00:26:28]:
Can I give you advice, Eli? Actually, just send me off that last one.

Eli Rubel [00:26:31]:

Dan Murphy [00:26:31]:
I think one of the best things you guys did in the process. And maybe this is because I jumped into it after you had kicked off with Dave. But my first meeting with your team, you already had branding guidelines for us, even though it wasn't the final thing, being able to jump in and have a starting point of, like, you took the concept, you took Dave's story. I think you did a 30 minutes conversation. Just heard about the background of exit five and Vermont and the highway and the exit and all that stuff. And then you took that and you brought it to life. And so maybe it's simple, maybe it's stupid, maybe it's not possible because it's hard to do that for every client. But showing up on day one with you guys and having, like, here's.

Dan Murphy [00:27:07]:
I think you gave me three options or four options, right? Because I jumped in and took over. Dave said, go handle this project, and you had those options. That was such a better starting point, I think, in terms of working with us. Okay, you already thought about us. You've already thought about the story. Like, it made it much more easy. All right, we're going to do this. Let's just figure out when we're going to do this right.

Dan Murphy [00:27:25]:
So I know you can't do that for everyone. Every agency can do that for every client.

Dave Gerhardt [00:27:29]:
But there's something in there that actually you're bringing this. Like, I think this is a great. I think you did a really good job of the delivery. And it was almost like some don draper type of shit, which is like, yes. And Dan and I have learned this and he knows that this is what I'm good at. But if I just show you the things. If I just show you, hey, Dan, I wrote a new website copy. Here's a copy.

Dave Gerhardt [00:27:48]:
I have not framed you at all. I haven't framed you at all. I haven't pre sold you at all, like, what you did. And I'm saying this because I think the marketers listening. We talk a lot about internal marketing. And so how. Let's say you work with the agency and you're going to roll this out and you need to get the CEO bought in. You need to get the company excited, right? You have to be a storyteller.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:07]:
And so what you all did was like, you made this presentation that showed you understood exit five. You created a story like, it wasn't just like this, like, neon ish green and these, like, wavy lines and arrows. It was like, okay, exit five is, you know, this destination, and we're going to tell this story about how like, exit five is your guide in your career. And there's the community, and it's a stop on the road. And, like, you know, you deeply understood the brand, and then you, you use that as a story to that. And then it was like, and so let me show you what that can look like. Like, you have to do that. That is the internal marketing of this.

Dave Gerhardt [00:28:41]:
If you just showed up on the call and you're like, all right, Dan, here's what the design looks like. He'd be like, all right, this is cool. But you had that buildup. You had the setup conflict resolute. Like, you had the storytelling component in there. I think that the brand is not just a set of visuals. It's the story that goes with it. And now when you pair the exit five story with that visual identity, now we have the ingredients.

Dave Gerhardt [00:29:04]:
And as an agency, now you've armed us with the tools we need to go back to tell our company and to get them excited about this, right?

Eli Rubel [00:29:11]:
Totally. I think another thing, too, is, like, a lot of companies aren't ready or the timing isn't right to go through a full brand, refresh, full website. But I would challenge, and the advice that I would give is, ask yourself the question, what is stale creative for your ads or for your organic, social whatever. What is stale creative costing you? Look at your ad spend, look at your effort, the amount of time and money that's being put into all of that, like, the marketing department. And would it be beneficial to experiment? Right? Like, experiment with fresh creative, try different things, try some bold stuff and see if it actually drives an impact. Because the majority of our business is helping companies do that. Brand and website is super fun to talk about, but we only end up doing four of those every month. It's very limited, but the rest of it is.

Eli Rubel [00:29:58]:
And you guys saw this. We did this for your community. I think you're going to publish that video soon. Of the before and afters, people who came in, they're like, yeah, our ad creatives, like, blah. Our organic social is blah. And we did a full reimagining. It's like, that's relatively cheap for companies to do and then to keep rolling with. So I think that's another piece of advice that I'd give.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:17]:
Okay, what role do you want marketing to play? Like, as a partner in this? You said, like, get out of the way. Let us do their job. But what role should the marketer play in bringing this to life?

Eli Rubel [00:30:26]:
They're like, man, this Eli guy's kind of a dick. Just let me do my work.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:31]:
As long as it's the creative genius, right? Like, you know, the guy at my meat market is crazy, but his meats are amazing. So I'm going to go get the meats from it.

Eli Rubel [00:30:41]:
I had to censor myself there real fast.

Dave Gerhardt [00:30:43]:
Uh, no, no, you don't. Not here. This is explicit, explicit content.

Eli Rubel [00:30:46]:
All right, there we go. For future, no, I think honestly, the timeliness of feedback and decisiveness of feedback. Number one thing, like, you guys crush that. Anytime a client can come to a call, see something, react to it, and then give us a go, no go. Or give us even more than that. Like take the time to think through why you don't like something a lot of the time. One of the biggest bottlenecks in design is you'll get a slack message from the client and they're like, ugh, this is so far off. I hate it.

Eli Rubel [00:31:16]:
I'm like, you gave me one mediocre piece of feedback, which was that you don't like it. Nothing else that you said was helpful. And like, we're on the same team. We're trying to create a great output for you. So like, be better. And that's the kind of thing I wish I could sometimes like shake people and say, but it's true. It's like, okay, you don't like it. Awesome.

Eli Rubel [00:31:35]:
That's not a problem at all. If you read the book the creative act, right? This is the creative act. It's going to take back and forth. It's going to take seeing stuff you hate to get to stuff that you love.

Dave Gerhardt [00:31:45]:
Yeah, it's a game of feedback. It's like we talk about this all the time with our business and content and social media. It's like don't overly react and get defensive to the feedback. It's like, okay, this is my job. I'm in a service business where I'm creating something for people. I got to, each piece of feedback is hopefully going to get me creative closer and like, you whittle down. Whittle down. Well, then there's like lots of feedback.

Dave Gerhardt [00:32:04]:
Lots of feedback. Less feedback, less feedback, no feedback. That's like the progression, right?

Eli Rubel [00:32:08]:
Exactly. So it's like, I think over communicating there, you know, it's like, oh, okay, I don't like the blue. Why don't you like the blue? Oh, blue reminds me of Salesforce and Salesforce is kind of corporate, just like IBM and like, okay, so you don't like corporate. That's helpful feedback. Right. And you don't like the color blue. That's helpful feedback. Right? So just as much as people can be specific and almost over share with details, I think they'll end up getting a much better partnership with whatever creative they're working with and ultimately a better end product.

Dave Gerhardt [00:32:36]:
Yes, sir. All right, before we wrap, I just want to. So what's cool is you can go check it out, go to exit dot. If you, everything that you see there is what we did for this project, you can go do that. You can go to. No and check out all of their, their work. But what's nice now is that you guys are going to help us with, like, design as a service as an ongoing basis. And this is something that I wish I had back in the day because I think it's still important to have a creative team in house.

Dave Gerhardt [00:33:06]:
But oftentimes they're just trapped doing other stuff. And, you know, Dan and I are like, oh, we need to, you know, we need an image to promote this thing for next week and we need this, you know, we got to do this landing page. I think it's hugely a mistake I've made a couple times is under investing in creative resources and it's not always realistic to have two or three people in house that can be your creative team. And so I think what you're doing with NBD and being able to do, like, design as a service is huge. We're excited to get to do that. Obviously, as part of this. You guys were like, hey, if you, if we do a good job and will, you know, will you say nice things about us and we're going to help you out with this design as a service. So I think there's a couple other companies that do this that folks can go and check out, too, but just, just to see what's out there, to see how much you can get leverage from design, whether you work with NoBoringDesign or not.

Dave Gerhardt [00:33:54]:
I learned a lesson from a guy who was much more senior than me one time I was a new vp and he's like, hey, man, let me give you some advice. And I was like, I don't want your advice, but I'm going to take it anyway. He's like, you, as the team leader, you have to realize that you don't have to do all of the work right? And I had an ego. I wanted to, like, do all the stuff in house. He's like, you get hired to get the job done. You need to deliver on the work and do great work. It doesn't matter if an intern does it, if an agency does it, if the team in house does it. And so I think if you can look to find leverage, whether that's a SEO agency, a creative agency, somebody doing design as a service, writing your job as the marketing leaders to get the job done.

Dave Gerhardt [00:34:34]:
And so it's part of your job as a marketing leader to always be evaluating new technology, new tools, new services, new agencies, all the great cmos and people that I know that have done that, they have lists, man. They're like, here's 20 tools we could use right now. Here's ten agencies we could use right now. Like, you have to be doing that as a marketing leader. And so, no, maybe that's NoBoringDesign to do your design as a service. But I hate getting stuck. I hate when we're ready to announce something and to do something, and then we don't have the creative asset for it, and it's like, yeah, hold on, we'll have that in three days because our current designer is, like, bogged down with some other stuff. So if you have the ability to get some outside help and get design pretty close to on demand, that's a huge advantage today.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:19]:
And, yeah, that's all. Uh, what else? Anything I missed? You want to get off your chest before we hang up?

Eli Rubel [00:35:25]:
You know, I feel like that was a mic drop moment. You brought it right home. That's good.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:28]:
You know, I do this for a living. I do this for a living. I do webinars. Uh, you could hire me for your next webinar. No, you can't actually do birthday parties. Birthday parties. I mc birthday parties. My son had a magician at his birthday party.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:39]:
Guy was fantastic. I do webinars. I do podcasts. I do in person events, which we're going to see you at in September. So. All right, check them out. No, dot. Check out our site, exit dot.

Dave Gerhardt [00:35:50]:
Keep coming back to that. Tell your friends, share membership with friends. You'll see Eli in the community he's given back. He's in there planting trees for the future and answering design questions for future generations of marketers. So, Eli, good to see you, Dan. I'll see you back in slack. We'll see you guys later.

Eli Rubel [00:36:06]:

Dave Gerhardt [00:36:07]:
All right, exit.
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