REACH– A B2B Marketing Podcast
REACH– A B2B Marketing Podcast

Season 4, Episode 14 · 3 months ago

Empathy & Relevance in Music & ABM — 2/4


How do you gauge the success of your B2B marketing? Is it by how much is expressed? How much is heard? Or by how well the message resonates? In this episode, we continue the story of musician Kishi Bashi as he takes a leap of faith to discover his own voice in an industry known for some of the loudest voices on earth. Emotional intelligence researcher Justin Bariso explains why communication often lacks empathy and how we can improve the relevance of our messaging.

If your job is to communicate with and inspire others, how do you gauge success? Is it by how much is expressed, how much is heard, or by how well the message resonates? In this episode, we continue the story of Kishi Bashi as he takes a leap of faith to discover his own voice and an industry known for some of the loudest voices on Earth. How do musical artists reach their audiences and what role does empathy play in creating more relevant communication? This is a podcast about B two B marketing and the account based mindset. This is reach. Thanks so much for joining us today. My name is Jeromy and I'm here with chief creative officer, Garrett Krinsky. Nice to be here well. In Our last episode, Kishi Bashi told us a little bit about how he got into music in the first place, as a violinist and then eventually backing up other artists like of Montreal, and even starting his own a dy rock band in New York City. But it seems like there was a pivotal moment, right while touring with Regina Specter, when he had this opportunity to start playing solo, and it introduced him to a certain vulnerability, right. Yeah, I love that. K brought up, you know, with Regina, where he was like the crowd just wanted the band to leave so that they could just be alone with her and hear her thoughts and connect as humans. You know, that's what the relevance was really about, and what he discovered was intimacy with the audience. Exactly right, and so that's where we left off. K is now interested in exploring this intimacy with his audience. But I think we can all relate to the anxiety that you would feel in this position. Right. It's scary to be vulnerable. It kind of reminds me of when you see an artist stage dive. How do you know that the crowd is going to catch you? You know, how do you know that they want what you have to offer, and how do you know that you'll eventually fine success? Of course I wanted to be successful when I was with Regina Spector as her side musician. I wanted to be like her. You know, she was absolutely adored and she was playing huge venues and she was making money and I had a child, she was like four or five then. So it was a struggle going on tour and making music is kind of hard sometimes. A lot of musicians in New York, you know, you finished tour and you go back and because the rent is so high, your life is just so committed to a certain lifestyle that you just jam packed a whole day long this stuff, and I think that that's can be extremely exciting. Because I was playing with of Montreal and playing with artists. I was connected basically to a world like the Indie rock world that I always wanted to be connected with. But like, financially Um, I was very desperate, you know, and it felt like a peasant. So I think I started to realize that I was playing guitar and singing and a media Sameth rock band wasn't really going to pay the bills, and so I moved out of New York and I went to live with my parents. Took my whole family. It was pretty defeated and I think, being an older person, that was probably what thirty six seven, that's like elderly for the Indie Rocker, you know, and I was like, oh well, here I am living with my parents, you know, with with my kid. You know, it was kind of a low point in my life, but I was always determined to. I knew I had enough ideas and I knew I had enough encouragement from people that I was doing something good or adding something new to the conversation that I kept at it. But I think the one thing that really changed for me was that I started to value my time to be a conceptual artist, meaning like I could concept my songs and spend way more time on a single item because I made time for my self.

I valued this kind of idleness that an artist, I think, needs to just pick up that guitar or just like spend time with music here or just be content with your life so that your mind can just be free to explore any avenues of inspiration that that might present itself. Before then, I was an Indie rock singer Songwriter, which is a very white genre, and I think I was always just kind of hiding, you know, I was just trying to fit in to what I thought that would be, which is just an Indie, hipster white guy five and then I started realizing, you know what, I've got this whole other language that has like these unique characteristics that I could incorporate into my music, and that's when I started to just dive into it not being embarrassed about it. And I still had the thing where I didn't want to be a world music musician, which is like a different category. I wanted to be an Indie rock musician with Japanese lab rings, and so I was careful not to cross that boundary. But I think at the time people are just like, oh, that's like really unique, and I think it helped me stick out. But I also embraced it, and that was probably the beginning of me being able to embrace my culture and not being embarrassed about my dual heritage. If you go about your life trying to write pop hits, it's such a struggle. You should just go about writing songs you feel great about, because what is popular popular means you're connecting with a lot of people, and it's the true you are to your emotion, the better chance you have it connecting with a lot of people and becoming popular. Luckily, by the time I released one five, one A, I had already experienced multiple releases through Jupiter one, so I knew what I needed, you know, like a publicist, and I needed some kind of marketing, and so I'd lucky to sign with a very fledgling label at the time, joyful noise, Ichi go Ich, you know, and fight one is one time, one meeting, a meeting, you know, between two people. It's a Swabi Sabi aesthetic of just cherish this unique moment between you two, be it good or bad or flawed. A lot of martial arts people use it as well. If you're fighting someone, even if you get beat it's like, oh, that was a good fight, we did well, that was unique to that one moment in time. And so for me it's a creative philosophy and that you can't just get hung up on trying to create like a masterpiece. That your art, your statement. If you write a novel, if you make an album with a painting, it's just a snapshot on your creative moment in time and I think if you get that in your head that I kind of freeze up a lot of anxiety you might have always trying to achieve perfection, which is almost impossible. Finally took a leap of faith and made that debut album, but it's about cherishing life every second at a time, like like wow, that just happened. The outcome was not what I expected, but you know, it's beautiful. For that reason I have view opportunity as something that's always gonna come available to you, like a big break, like playing on TV or doing a big press break or getting some kind of opportunity. They're always going to be there. Atty Point Three K E xp here in Seattle and UH in studio with us, is Keishiboshi on tour right now. You just have to be prepared to really monetize on it, and I was prepared. I had an album that I was proud of and I just kind of put myself out there and worked every opportunity possible. There's a few early breaks. NPR really supported my debut album and this particular project, the the guy funded it entirely on kickstarter and it's very much his own thing. There's there's no real input from the I think they like the idea that I was at south by southwest, which is a big music festival, and I wasn't accepted, so I played all these private part...

...days and they liked this underdog story of look at this guy and get accepted but has this great album and I was like one of their top choices to go see. And then I got a tiny desk concert that was huge for me. Actually that was one of my earliest incarnations of Kishibashi Solo, which I think there's a beatboxing and about all I had was that little speaker behind me that they gave me, you know, and it's a lot of support from that. And so I just went everywhere. Anybody who would let me open up, I'd go and open up. I got a great booking agent who strategically helped me grow my audience. Then I tour and I slowly build my following by doing national tours and enjoying music. Like creating art is like valuable to anybody, and anybody can do this as a hobby, but to do it professionally is like a whole another thing. You know, it's not all fun and Games. There's a lot of logistical stuff that's not fun at all. There's a lot of practicing you have to do. There's a lot of politics too. So I had no idea what the success of it what's going to be like. Like, I didn't know it's going to take off, and it's not like it took off like wildfire. It's just I'm a solo artist, I'm just one person, but for me it would be great because I was finally sustainable as an artist and people are really excited about it because it was a new sound at the time, new meaning. There weren't that many like violin stringing, pop kind of things. I had finally discovered that, oh, this is something that I can contribute to Indie rock. It's only like ten years ago and with Kishiboshi, that I was able to just now. I just make my own music, you know, on my own terms, which is a true gift. I D did it last you know, looking back on the ten years since my debut album, I'm kind of jealous at how wild that album is. If there's a lot of really interesting things going on that I couldn't recreate today. I think my music is definitely simpler now because I have the luxury of not needing to be so dramatic or like, Hey, look at me, I'm new. Like me, I don't have to worry about that kind of stuff, so I can just create an artistic statement, put it out and and then just move on. I think that a lot of people buy into your brand and like who you are when they listen to your album or have that album and they get excited about you as an artist. They're getting excited about you as a person. I would think a good percentage of they're supporting you is them like supporting you as a human being performing live. The audience is really forgiving because when they see you doing something challenging, it's like they're rooting for you, and if you mess up, they want to see you succeed. Messing up is totally part of being a human being and I think people like to see people who try. That's the movie that people want to see. And so if they like what you do, then they're excited. Then they might be forgiving. If you take a weird route on your second album, they'll support you, but then, if they like you enough, give your third album a chance. And so, like for many bands, the sophomoric effort the second album is really tough because you spend all your time developing this unique sound, you blow everybody away and then your second album you only have like six or seven months or a year to create, because everybody wants to hear it and albums take a little bit of time. So it's really tricky. If you're lucky, you can release the debut album and then you have like this initial push of excitement, you know, because you're new and that has a certain amount of value. And then I think the sustainable artists, the ones that can continue to make ideas that engage their audience and grow their audiences, the ones that can survive. But even after like ten years, it's really hard to have to keep reinventing myself. You could come up with a great formula of music that people appreciate and can connect with, but after a while it just kind of gets old. So, like the general population is used to getting... things. So you have to keep changing, you have to keep pushing yourself to to do something new. It's true, isn't it, that we can often picture success and then come up with a formula that we think matches that end. But, as he said, you know, people are drawn to authenticity, so you kind of shoot yourself in the foot a little bit when you try to contrive that. Yeah, I appreciated how Kay talked about how people want to hear a piece of your humanity and when he found that piece of his humanity that he wanted to communicate, that's when his career really did something and then he experienced success. As him exactly right. Yeah, it seems like if we want to connect in our communication, we really need to treat our audience as individuals, people with feelings and emotions and motivations of their own. Absolutely right. So, since we're talking about emotions and empathy in this season, I thought I'd reach out to an expert on this subject, Justin Burriso. He's a calumnist for INC magazine, specializing in the field of emotional intelligence. He's written a book on the topic. He runs an education platform called EQU applied. Welcome, Justin thank you for taking the time for us. So my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me. So Justin as you know, we're following the story of a musician for this series. Can I ask what kind of music do you listen to while you're writing? I have a writing playlist of something that Um for some reason, the the interstellar theme, Hans Summer. Well, well, it's super inspiring. It's super inspiring for them. That's like. But it runs the gamut, though. It's like that. What else is on there? I got some Taylor Swift on there, I got I got cold play on there. I've got a collead remake of Um Tracy Chap's fast car, which I find also very in so it's really it's that's how you weave together this emotional tapestry of influence and inspiration. That's great. That's trying to get in touch with those feelings. Okay, so speaking of feelings, how did you get into this field of emotional intelligence? So give you the short version. I started writing about emotional tals. I got this column For for INC magazine and explored a lot of different categories, but my very first column was about empathy, showing empathy in the workplace, and then I explored a lot of different topics, but I kept really looking for science backed evidence on why you should be empathetic in your communication, how you can communicate better, how you can be a better manager, how can you deepen your relationships and things like that. And as I started writing more and more about that, I didn't even know term emotional intelligence at the time. I just started doing research on it and the basic definition is learning to identify, I understand manage emotions. But he just gave me a common language that could use and speaking about these things, and empathy is a huge part of that. Yeah, I don't know if it's because I've been living under a rock or what but I had not become aware of the term emotional intelligence until the last few years and then and then it was everywhere. Well, yeah, basically one of the first books I read was by Daniel Goldman, which is kind of opened this topic up and brought it to the masses. But even though I found it interesting to read and there are some practical examples, there was still this gap of being able to explain it in a very simple way with real life examples. And I found examples that would emerge in the news. And the thing about emotional intelligence and just empathy as a whole. You can't see what's going on in a person's head, but you know, you can see how someone does a certain thing, how someone expresses himself. Say, okay, we can see elements of empathy here,... know, and just kind of breaking down those lessons so it's something real that someone can see, not just the original written message, but then now an explanation. Why could this be emotionally intelligent? Or what's the lesson here? How could you do things in a similar way in your workplace environment, for example, stuff like that. Yeah, so I can see how those examples would help a person understand the concept, but how do you teach someone how to execute on those concepts? Like how do you teach emotional intelligence? The big project we've been working on is developing online courses that helps you to build emotionally intelligent habits and to manage your emotional behavior. It's basically twenty four simple constructs that you can carry around with you and I'm really excited to launch in the next month or show here. It's called the rules of emotional intelligence. So, for example, one of them is called the three question rule and something I learned watching an interview with comedian Craig Ferguson where he said before you say anything, you have to ask yourself the questions three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything, which is, does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me? Now, three marriages, it took me to learn that and uh, and it's humorous, but I use this rule every single day Romi. I use it at home, I use it in work, you know, I use it in meetings and there's so many different applications to that. So the single lesson is just explaining what that rule is how you can apply it things like that. Thank you Justin because you probably saved me from a bunch of communication folk pause today. So that's those principles. Yeah, so now those are great questions to ask, but what goes into coming up with the right answers to those questions to, you know, improve your communication? I guess another rule that I use. I like to call it the golden question. You have to ask yourself how I feel about this in a day, how I feel about this in five days, how I feel about this five years? And that helps me to determine is this really as serious as I think it is? Is it something we need to address? Sometimes it's something that needs to be said, but it's not really my place to say it, or I'm not going to be the most effective to say it, because that can influence now your strategy and who you choose to represent your organization or the product or the campaign. Actually, many times I'll get through both those questions. It definitely needs to be said, it definitely needs to be said by me, but doesn't need to be said by me now. You know, timing is such a huge thing right. So, on a management perspective, for example, you might need to correct someone, but you need to correct them now in front of everyone else? Probably not. It's probably not going to have the desired effect. Um, when we decide, am I the right person or is this the right time? It's the perspective of my audience that I'm considering at that moment. Right. Yeah, because we're not speaking in a vacuum. So, even if it's something we feel really strong that we need to say, why do we need to say it? And again, what's the impact going to be on the person? Because if the impact is not going to reach our goals, then that's definitely gonna have a bearing on how, when, who says the message? Yeah, so, I mean when we talk about empathy in the context of emotional intells, is that the empathy that we're talking about or are we talking about something else? Oh No, that's definitely it. So Goldman and Paul Ekman, who's another psychologist who, at least at one point, was really specializing in the topic of empathy, they break down empathy into three types cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and empathic concern or compassionate empathy. Cognitive empathy is probably going to be the most important for marketing purposes. It's just understanding what's going on in a person's head, in your audience's head, and also their feelings. So that's really going to help you to craft your message, because you craft in a way not just that you appreciate, but that they're going to appreciate, they're gonna quickly understand and it's going to reach them on an emotional level. The new this one is emotional empathy, which takes it another...

...step further, and that's where you can actually feel what the other person is feeling, you know, so to speak. Um and that's what a lot of us think about sometimes when we think about empathy. It's actually being able to relate to those feelings. You know, when someone is telling you about something, like they're struggling with the presentation or they're struggling with their kids. You may understand the topic, you may understand what they're talking about, but you don't necessarily feel that pain, either because presentations are easy for you or you don't have kids or you didn't have those same struggles. So you understand intellectually what they're talking about, but you can't really feel it, and emotional empathy is being able to actually relate to that feeling. So you see yourself? Okay, well, I don't struggle with presentations or raising my kids, but I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by a problem. I know what it feels like when I just can't get past something. And so now you can relate to that person's feeling and that really helps you in your relationship. That can really help you craft your message to write. And then the third one empathict, concern or compassion, empathy. It's basically you're taking action. So it's not just that you understand and feel these things, but you actually take action to reach them. And it's from a marketing perspective. There's different types of marketing, but this is one reason why I love content marketing, you know, because it's not the traditional let me throw stuff at you, but it's more like, let me understand what the person is looking for, let me create this content, and that draw them in because I'm providing them something valuable. And most of the time, what do people do when they get that? They want more, and so that's that's really, really what I love about content marketing. Yeah, it seems like through appropriate empathy, we can produce communication that is more relevant to the audience. Is that fair to say? Yeah, big time, exactly, exactly right. So I mean it seems like a basic enough concept, but if you look around the world and we're just drowning in conflict, in misunder's standing, why do you suppose we're all struggling so much with this? So it's an amazing question and there's actually quite a bit of research on it. Believe it or not, there's something that psychologists and scientists have explored which is called the perspective gap. That's how Adam grant describes it and some other psychologists, others, have described it as the empathy gap, and I like that term perspective gap because I think it's a little more descriptive. And what the perspective gap says is if you're not in a situation at this moment, it's very difficult to engauge how that situation is going to affect you. And you can turn that around too. You might think a certain situation is going to affect you this way when in reality it won't necessarily affect the other person that way, and so it's like some examples of that. Doctors oftentimes underestimate how a patient is going to experience pain. Mothers many times forget how much pain childbirth is until they're going through it again. So we might hear someone breshing a situation to us, for example, and we think, Um, oh, it's not that bad or they just needed toughen up. But when we're in that same situation we also react very similar to them or just as badly, or sometimes worse, you know. But because we're not going through it at that time, our memories tend to remember that things happened easier or better than they actually did. So, flipping that and in the marketing context, when we're creating something, we come up with a very you know it's a brilliant idea. Maybe it is a brilliant idea, or maybe we get a lot of great feedback on it. Okay, I feel really good about this, but we overestimate how it's going to affect the general audience or our target audience. Maybe the people were getting feedback from on this message is not our target audience and so it is great to them, it does reach them an emotional level. But if our target audience is a completely different set of people, then we make be completely off and how that message is actually going to affect them and then we've missed the mark. Yeah, that's a really good point. So what would be your standout advice to people that want to improve their communications?...

I mean, what do you think more people should consider? One is working not just on what you want to say, but how you want to say it, so that you can make the maximum impact and so that you can communicate things in a way that the other person can really get, and just spending time thinking up front. How do I want to communicate this? Most of US hate awkward silences, but I say embrace that awkward silence, expect it, prepare for it, leverage it and in the course, that's one of the rules. We talk about the rule of awkward silence. So what does that mean? Someone asks you a question, what's our temptation? It's like, Oh, let me respond to this question right away, let me speak off the top of my head. or how about, like in text messages, like oftentimes, you know, someone writes us a text message. Depending on your settings, they can see you've seen the text message. Oh Man, I gotta respond, you know. So again we respond as quickly as possible. Sometimes we respond and then later we're like, why did I agree to that or why did I respond that way? That's not usually the best answer. So can I pause to the point where it's awkward? It's like ten fifteen seconds and and if you're not comfortable, you won't be comfortable doing that in the beginning to say give me a second to think about that. So at least you you let them know you know where you are, and then it gives you a chance to kind of catch your breath, to really think through what you want to say. Once you can kind of lean into that, I've found it's really improved the way I communicate. Yeah, I think before you speak, kind of principle. Yeah, exactly, exactly. It sounds simple right, but it's it's simple in theory and very difficult to practice. I don't think my father told me anything more often than that sentence. Think before you do. Think mine too, and I'm still worried of it. That's the thing. So, as you know, we're following the story of the musician Kishibashi in this series and it seems like earlier in his career he may have fell into some of the pitfalls that to be a lot of aspiring artists fall into and that he was creating with his own success in mind. But then it seems like as he started considering the perspective of others empathizing, he was able to then connect with more listeners. So I was just warning jus. Do you think there are principles in this story that apply to all of us? No, I actually I love just the whole concept. This is something else. So I haven't found much traditionally people exploring emotional intelligence in music, for example, but there's such a great connection there because you know who are favorite musicians. It's not just that they play a piece technically well, but that the emotion is there right. And I don't make music myself, but Um, for my work of writing, that was some of the best advice a fellow columnists gave me when I first got started out. So you have to find the balance between writing what you want to write about and what other people want to read, you know, and that that was such golden advice for me because, yeah, you can be passionate about something but you know, you have to be able to communicate it in a way that other people understand. And once you find that balance, once you can write or make music or communicate your message, to give your natural passion about it, but in a way that others can understand. That that reaches others, then that's really it right. That's what we're all trying to do. Well, we'd like to thank Justin Burrisso for taking the time for us today. If you're interested in learning how to make your emotions work for you instead of against you, explore some of the free resources on e q apply dot com. We also want to thank our friends over at Guy Stories for collaborating with us on this piece. If you like inspiring stories that highlight the journey toward purpose, is it I K I G A I lab dot CEO. Kai Bashi finally found a fan base of listeners who wanted to hear what he had to say, but it was listening to others that inspired him... speak up. I started to look into my own artistic expression as a voice for these feelings I was having to be able to communicate all these things to my listeners, my fans, so I started writing an album and I also started making a movie. In our next episode, we follow Kishibashi around the country on a quest to turn stories from the past into relevant inspiration for today, we'll also speak with Q Superville, from transmission agency about how the same empathy can lead to better diagnosis and more relevant solutions for our clients. All this and more next time on reach.

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